Walking up a trail, the crisp cold air on my cheeks, watching each rock as I navigate my way, step by step, and around the bend, I notice that I am smiling. A broad, happy, easy, natural smile that matches the beating of my heart and tells me I am one again. Deep breath in, hop onto a rock, step over some boulders, and out again. Birds singing. A breeze. THIS, I remember, is where I am happiest. Moving through Nature. Joining it. Beholding it. Immersing myself in such a way that I not only commune, I honor.
Today, I was in the Sunol Wilderness. I craved hot weather and sun, after a week of heavy bay area fog. I longed to feel the reality of summer. Under the hot sun, I walked along trails that meandered up and around the many rolling hills of mustard colored grass. Cows crossed my path, watching me ever so carefully to ensure that I was no threat. I whispered to them that I was not. I thought of Franz Kafka’s quote, “Now I can look at you in peace. I do not eat you any more.” Nevertheless, a calf was nearby and I knew the sentiment wouldn’t hold much value to a defensive mama. I veered to the left when I saw the little one, black and white, and averted my gaze from his mother’s intent glare. All is well here, I relayed to her in thought. I am your friend. I will do you no harm.
Hiking in wilderness is my meditation. My re-connection. My way of disengaging from the I, and all of my ego’s desires to make things work, make things fit, make things right with society. Questions of how do I fit in dissipate as a true outer connection is borne.
I came upon no other people on my hike today. Just me, the vast sky above, the sloping hills all around me, and the cows.
Seven miles and I was centered again.