“Ain’t it funny how everything changes?
Ain’t it funny how everything goes?
We’re all just getting older
Doing our very best at staying young
But if age is just a number,
There ain’t nothing wrong with having fun.”
The weather dropped below 60 (degrees fahrenheit) last night. That’s about 16 degrees for those of you operating on celsius. I cannot describe the change it has had on me. I feel a bit like a hard, crusty old shell is cracking to release me into this new season. Weather is a powerful thing, so in light of this happy news I made it my goal to get out this week!
Of course I went to nature.
Now, I have been on more than one hike where I arrive at the same time as another person. We start out within a few minutes of each other, yet by the time I return to my car their vehicle is already gone.
You might be thinking “What’s the big deal?” They probably just finished before me, or maybe they decided they didn’t want to do it, or a whole host of other reasons.
I can’t explain why, but I am infinitely curious about these people. Perhaps it is because I expect to see them on the trail, and I don’t, then suddenly they’re gone. I always find myself asking, why? Where did they go?
This particular instance found me at Lake Thunderbird just southwest of OKC. If you ask my mother, there are horror stories surrounding the lake so it’s wise not to go alone. However, I find I have a certain degree of disregard for what is “wise.”
I went with the intent of doing…well I didn’t actually now what, but I knew hiking would be apart of it. I had prepared to be there for a long time, but the warning about unusually bad ticks from the lady at the visitor’s center had me reconsidering the whole thing. She couldn’t really tell me how to get to where I wanted to go, so it was by happy accident that I found myself right where I wanted to be.
The trails are all divvied up by color, their distances marked, but again I wasn’t really sure how far I wanted to go. So one foot in front of the other, I just started.
That’s the most difficult part of anything, right?
Starting that post, that exercise, that essay, that….anything.
Ultimately, I completed a brief 2.5 miles (4 kilometers), during which time I just embraced the forest around me.
Rabbit trail with me for a moment. I read a blog today about things that writers frequently get wrong when writing about forests. I found it curious that there would be a need for that. Then it hit me, not every writer actually goes out and spends time in the forest or in whatever context they are writing about. A person who has never lived on or visited a ranch may not have experienced the sounds and smells that go along with it. That doesn’t mean they can’t write about it and make it believable.
Isn’t that the gift of writing though? You don’t have to actually experience it to write about it.
That said, I tend to err on the side of writing from my own experience which is why moments in the woods are so vital.
For example, it is pure bliss – the tingly kind that crawls all over your skin – to hear the wind breathe in the trees. Walking to the offbeat tune of each inhale and exhale, then to the sound of your own footsteps during the long silences in between. I swear the trees hold their breath to listen to the hikers as well.
It is in those moments of profound silence that your brain is finally allowed to ponder things you are often too busy for. At least I find that to be true for me. Have you ever noticed the way the tiny insects dance like wayward specs of glitter in shafts of sunlight or the intensity of a doe’s gaze as she watches you pass nearby? I will admit that is one staring contest I lost, no question.
In a way it’s like an invisible world that you alone are audience to. For those creatures it is their daily experience, but I am only a passing shadow. There for a moment and soon gone.
As I consider these things I am reminded that this planet thrives on change. Just think about seasons, yet in some twist of irony most humans around the globe spend their entire lives seeking to establish a high level of predictability and consistency. The only thing we’re really guaranteed from the day we are born is that things will indeed change.
What’s so wrong with that?
Why can’t the goal be to thrive in the midst of that change rather than numb ourselves to the reality?
The more I think about it, the more the truth of it resonates with me:
Until next time!