Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ending Thoughts 2013

My favorite time of the day is dusk.  The time when the sun goes down casting a rosy, orange glow across the horizon and the light from below is so bright it hurls itself into the blue and the colors merge into a vibrant rainbow of color.  The rose feathers into the blue and the edges blur.  The sky and world around look fuzzy like your favorite blanket.  The trees are solid shadows, black and sharp edged sticking into the sky.  Tree tops like a butch hair cut contrast black against the fading blue purple sky.  And as the light dims, sun sinking further around the corner of the world, the trees merge into the sky.  

The first star, probably not a star but a planet, shines alone in the sky until joined by other light beings.  Crowding the sky with sparkling radiance, the white light seems sharper the colder the night.  On very cold nights their brittle brilliance is a knife point of light cutting through the darkness. 

Yet on this cold early winter night, I think of endings, for it is the eve of the New Year.  It is the night when everyone all over the world waits for the new beginning, waits to rid themselves whether willingly or reluctantly of all that has traveled into the past.   It is the night when everyone gets to start over, gets a second chance, gets to do it all again and make it better.  Where possibilities for change hang like ripe fruit to be picked from the tree of tomorrow.

Yet, always questioning, I ask myself, is this really a wise practice?  Should I, actually, wait until the end to rid myself of that which lies in the distant past?  Should I carry each misstep, each disappointment, each reward, each hill climbed, and each success with me through a whole year?  Or should I let them go …let them float away on the tide of history?  These thoughts are ever present as I learn to live in the moment.  Something that has become important to me as I’ve aged.  

With all the things that have happened in my history, I’ve learned to value today for tomorrow is not a given.  One never knows how many days one has...so today is vitally important.  Today is all I have.  In fact, this moment as I type these letters is all I have and that which I’ve typed before…well those moments are in the past and thus are not NOW.  Yet, so much of what I learn, so much of how I grow as a human, comes from what I’ve learned in the past.  It truly is a conundrum with which I wrestle every day. 

I love living in the moment.  It feels right and true.  To not dwell on past hurts, pain, anguish, mistakes is freeing and means that I have to let go of the judgments not only that I make of others but of myself.   Everything, if allowed, teaches me how to walk my trail more authentically, more genuinely.  Everything, teaches me to be more ME.  This year, I know it sounds silly, but this year, this year of turning 60…well I’ve learned to forgive and accept and to value ME for who I am. It was a hard fought battle but ME won.  Yeah!

Am I perfectly me now?  Of course not.  Those of you who know me know this truly…and I thank you for your indulgence, love, patience and friendship.  My family, I hope both forgives me and loves me for who I am.  I have wisdom to bring….yet so much more to learn.

So, my dear ones, those of you on this trail with me, now….I love you all greatly and with all that at this moment I have to bring to you.  I will in this coming year, hopefully, become more of me so that I can be a more loving and selfless friend to you. For as I believe I deserve acceptance…I am more desirous of bringing you love and acceptance. Many thanks and in this moment...please turn to those whom you love and give them a big hug for indeed…you have this moment.   Cowabunga…into this New Year of 2014 we go!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Faster I Go the Behind-er I Get!

Winter Weather - mid-September at Logan Pass
Time seems to pass much more quickly than I seem to be able to keep up with it.  Only a few days ago wasn't I in Montana?  In reality its been nearly 2 months since I came home  The weather there continues to be brutal …with snow and cold temps making the mountains more stunningly beautiful than seems possible. 

New Home on the Indiana Plains
October was a lovely month off and provided me with the opportunity to travel back and forth from Indiana and Ohio, transitioning from my past life in Ohio, to the new back in my home state of Indiana.  I had an opportunity to go to the Gathering in PA, do some hiking in OH and take a trip to Atlanta with a stop for 2 days in Great Smokey Mountain NP to hike.  Luckily, we stayed with some good friends, making this trip an outstanding time.

View of Gatlinburg
I was lucky enough to travel to GA with a 2013 AT Thru hiker so stopping to hike was a given.  After, spending a few days visiting with another hiking friend in Athens, we headed to Gatlinburg, TN to stay with good friends.

Juney Whank Falls
Trying to decide where to hike in GSMNP was challenging., there are just too many great choices. We, finally, decided to stop at Deep Creek and bag 3 waterfalls located very close together.  The weather started off marginally gloomy but turned sunny.  The late fall sun fell on us making the running creek sparkly with watery diamonds.  The leaves were scarlet, ochre, green, brown, gold…a panoply of colors, shades & hues highlighted by the sun made for awe inspiring scenery.

View from Overlook on Newfound Gap Road
On the way to our overnight accommodations, we stopped at several overlooks,bypassing the over crowded  Newfound Gap.   By this time, we were very tired.  Clouds piled up in the valleys, filling them with fog and muting the autumn colors.  The clouds hung with the possibility of snow and the west wind spoke to me of winter as it hit me in the face.  Looking out over the ridges to the southwest there was no sunset to be seen but the eerie light made for a spectacular view.

Baskin Creek Falls Trail
The following day we decided to hike a little traveled trail to another falls.  This trail rolled over 4 sun-filled miles. Traveling through the woods, I saw only 2 people on trail as I walked to the falls and back. The delightful golden orb shone above warming the leaves underneath my feet.  The subtle smell of fall leaves crunching underfoot drifted up reminding me of days long past.  It was hard to refuse the urge to gather large piles of them and bury myself in their earthiness.  This was such a special time of contemplation and peace, I’ve not had for many years.

Baskin Creek Falls
The falls were splendid and I paused there with 4 others to have a snack, feeling the good feeling that conquering a challenging climb down can bring.  I rock-hopped across the creek to sit on a large granite boulder engaging 2 guys in the only on trail conversation of the day.

Bear Scat - Source of Possible Noises
Despite being alone in the woods, I was far from alone.  Down the in the valley, bushes rustled and the noises followed me up the trail.  I smelled various smells as I walked, I wondered if I’d finally see a bear on trail having not seen a bear all summer while in Montana.. But I did not, I only saw a squirrel and exchanged a few whistled tunes with some Chickadees.

Me -  Enjoying a Beautiful Fall DA
What a wonderful time was given like a gift to me, it seemed from the universe.  This transition time between the moves was a great way to create some space between 2 vastly different worlds.   Montana  was like summer camp, a time of dreams come true.   Indiana is, however, like a time for being responsible.  It is home and I am happy to be with family.  The universe has so graciously provided me with all that I’ve asked for.  A place to live between both my girls, a job which pays enough for me to pay bills & be generous (tis wondrous).  It has been a bounteous time for which I am grateful.  So many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Indian Creek Falls