Walking up a trail

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.

For some people, it is a Church where they find solace and spiritual connectedness, a path and an answer to the whys and hows that inhabit their thoughts. For me, it is a walk upon soil and granite, distant from the tether of humanity. There, I find bliss in the simplicity of my breath and the cadence of my stride. My thoughts inevitably whirr in the first mile, my ego baiting for resolutions on things of the past and future. On and on it goes, in circles and around again, thinking of choices I’ve made, pondering their merit and possible changes in plan. I think of people I know, how I am and how they are, and what that all means, and what do I do with it. After a while, as my heart beat starts to lure my thoughts toward my body, I start to notice my surroundings more. The colors. The temperature. The topography. And then, at some point, I realize, it’s been many miles and I forgot all about myself. I forgot that I had a self-identity. I was simply in the moment, breath in, breath out, engaged with my surroundings, taking one step at a time.

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.

DTBF!
Johanna