Oregon · USA
Life takes you to the most unexpected places sometimes. I was reminded of this as Rhett Wilkins and I stood atop a breezy alpine vista and watched as a conveyor belt of hillside-hugging clouds driven by the cold wind played peek-a-boo with Mt. Hood’s countenance. Despite the tantalizing front-row views afforded by the passing cloud breaks, it was the treasure trove of intimate scenes buried in the forest below that most eloquently spoke to my soul.
In the midst of the holiday season, then, it seems particularly apropos that I give thanks to the persuasive force that compelled me to veer off-trail and trudge up the mountainside to the targeted vantage point. All along the way there were beautiful scenes in virtual overabundance as the early morning sun crested the horizon and lit up the cool fog suffusing the noble fir forest, such as in this image that takes advantage of some internal lens reflections to add little bit of extra flair.
And so it is that I’ve come to a place in my career that I never could have foreseen even just a few months ago, when I felt Iike I was merely going through the motions with neither rudder nor purpose. Then just a few months ago I fortuitously found my way to an organization that had largely been a black box to me during medical school despite a local presence virtually in my own backyard to go with a network of affiliated institutions spread widely across seven western states. After years of having to practice as a soloist in a field that absolutely demands an interdisciplinary team approach, it’s been a revelation and a privilege to finally work alongside a cadre of skilled, passionate, and caring individuals who are so deeply committed to improving the welfare of their patients and easing their way through the trials of serious illness. Burnout and genuine self-doubt about my career choice in a profession that’s proven unimmune to the ills of money-minded interests have given way to that sense of fulfillment and purpose that drew me to the practice of palliative medicine in the first place.
Once again I suddenly find myself excited about my work and buoyed by ambition now that mere survival no longer occupies the bulk of my worries. Much as with this image, I’m trusting where light and instinct are leading me and enjoying the hard-earned views along the way.