Drawing Me In: The Tatra Mountains

 A view of Mount Rys, the tallest peak in the Polish Tatra Mountains. 

Living in Warsaw is, essentially, very easy. Existing here is comfortable. It doesn’t take all my capacity just to make a life here work. It just works. Having lived in lots of different scenarios, I do not take this fact for granted. And I realize how it changes the way I travel in this place.

 The Tatra Mountains reflected in Morski Oko, "The Eye of the Sea" 

When I live somewhere where the day to day living takes more energy, my travel is much more about reprieve. I just need to be somewhere that doesn’t require constant effort. I don’t feel that same need for escape when I’m living in Warsaw. Here, I’m looking for something to push me just a little bit. I need something that’s difficult. I want something to remind us all that we can do hard things.

 Trees in the Tatra National Forest
 Mountain Peaks in the Tatra Mountains. 
 Reflections in Morski Oko, in the Tatra Mountains

That was what first drew me into the Tatras. A need for something rough that I could stub my toe against. And the Tatras have that in spades. You can push yourselves against the immensity of it all.

 Morski Oko ("The Eye of the Sea") is a beautiful lake in the Tatra Mountains 
 Morski Oko, with the Tatra Mountains in the background 
 A tree with red berries in the Tatra Mountains
 Peaks in the Tatra Mountains in Southern Poland.  

What I found in those mountains, though, was more than a formidable adversary. They proved both a foil and a muse.

 Paths that beckon to me in the Tatra Natonal Forest in Southern Poland. 

Peppered along its slopes are paths are invitations. They beckon and they tease. They whisper in my ear, “Someday”.

 A path in the Tatra Mountains. 
 Fog obscures the Tatra Mountains in Southern Poland. 
 Mountains reflected in Morski Oko, one of the many lakes nestled in the Tatra Mountains 

Some places open a window in my imagination. They roll around in my head and play a role as backdrop to my stories. And, some places open a window in my heart. Baguio, Philippines is one of those. I’ll tell you about it some day. The Tatras are another one. These are places where I simply need to return. They have a unique ability to fill me up while simultaneously creating an insatiable craving. I go away from the Tatras both hungry and full. It is a combination that continues to draw me back.

 First glimpses of the mountains through the trees on the hike to Morski Oko