15 Years Ago

So it has been some time.

A good deal of time actually. Every spring I cannot help but think back. To see how what I am now relates to past springs; how the adventures of today are inspired by those of the past. 

 15 years ago a walk on a path was started with fear, trepidation and a heavy dose of romantic excitement. Eager to wander in the mountains and live under the stars, I filled my pack and stepped onto a trail that would forever change my perception of the world, mostly for the better, and alter who I was moving forward. All things would now be thought of as pre and post through-hike. A benchmark created and notched into the timeline of my life, dug in deep like names etched into the soft bark of a beech tree. It was my birthday, just like planned. I really had been wandering for a while at this point. So the walk began just as easy as that, and the wandering in many ways stopped.

Leave what I know. My comfort of regularity and the norm. Trade it for something uncertain. Some grand idea. Something that I am not sure if you can do.

What followed was months of movement often thought of now as if watching an old home movie. The grainy nature of an old vhs tape juxtaposed with the clarity of emotion and raw and primal feelings the memories inspire. The love of moving forward was planted much earlier, but cultivated by no other experience so strongly.  The love of moving forward.

The purity of covering ground on foot, carrying only what you need and giving your accute attention to this act itself. Feeling fully. Embracing this beautiful and shockingly amazing world and just moving forward. Whatever difficulty arises, whatever obstacle is between you and the horizon must be embraced, respected and calmly approached. The struggle of climbing each hill, of taking the next step, of shouldering a pack is preparation. Preparation not only for the task itself but preparation to apply these skills to the everyday. To embrace the beauty of the everyday with gratitude even when faced with insurmountable odds, to see that within each struggle there is growth. There is the propensity for progress. The iron embraces the heat of the forge knowing that it is a critical step in becoming a useful tool. It is not mere acceptance. It is not understanding. It is gratitude for all that arises. The good, the bad, the mundane are all part of the process.

I continue to seek and to find ways to continue down this path. To follow the blazes down a trail whose horizon I do not yet know. Each step I take is built upon all that I have taken before, their supportive foundation admittedly not always seeming so. But the love of adventure and inability to just be here continues my momentum and I am left with no choice but to move. To set out. To explore. And to hopefully find something within that will make me a better version of myself. Something that will remind me to face each step with appreciation, grace and a healthy dose of gratitude.  

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