Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hiking a Metaphor

Yesterday I awoke to blue skies and puffy white clouds, so I went for a hike. My favorite trail is less than 3 miles from my home. I grab my water, my camera, my mom, miss my girl and head over the mountain.

It’s a beautiful spring day,

with breezes that tickle my nose and turn forests of grass into chorus lines worthy of Ziegfeld.

I take picture after picture as I walk.

This portion of the trail leading through a campground is the most groomed and civilized part,

a mere prelude to the beauty that awaits me.

See, I know this trail. It shadows a stream that at this time of year swells into a rushing creek.

There are boulders to scale, rocks to clamber over, tree canopy sheltering me from the bright spring sun

and at the end lies a box canyon with a crystal clear, ice cold pool, only a foot or so deep, filled by a trickling waterfall. It’s been years since I’ve been able to visit. Delayed first by an exhausting work schedule and then by this.

Station Fire August 29, 2009
A column of smoke filled this valley for days. I am now beginning to see restoration in the green grasses carpeting the land

but still see blackened trees scarring the mountain sides.

Coming back into these mountains I love, I take my morning’s readings to heart.

I am determined to live in and value the present. To take back this gift of time, treasure it and then present my sacrifice of gratitude back to God who redeemed it for me in the first place. To see the magic in the large

and the small,

to intently enjoy the journey.

I traverse the campground, turn the corner into the canyon and am instantly halted.

No entry.

This land is not healed. I am not allowed in and disappointment floods me.

All of the joy and resolution to enjoy the journey trickle away like a cooler drained after ice has melted.

We turn back and I take more pictures, trying to salvage the peace and determination I felt this morning.

This feels like my life right now. Having walked one way, looking forward to a particular dream, only to have the way barred and I’m left bereft.

On the way home we decide to hike the trail next to our neighborhood.

At the trail head, I meet a new friend, Yates. How I love doggy cuddles.

This trail is very different from the first: striking mountain views, but no water.

So my perfectly waterproof Payless little boy’s hiking boots are now unnecessary.

I train my eye to look for beauty: to appreciate the cactus among the scrub

(but I don’t particularly like cacti) and to look at the world from a bunny’s point of view

(while hoping I don’t meet a snake.) We hike this unknown trail, following the hoof prints to stay on course.

It’s a nice trail.

Within walking distance from my home, but hotter, dryer (and snakier) in the summer:

no rushing brook, no leafy shade.

If I were crafting this tale, now would be when I make the grand discovery, some unforeseen beauty that makes the change in plans worthwhile, better even. I would fall more in love with the second trail than the first. But this is real life and I like the first trail better.

What does this mean, this lack of a tidy lesson in my metaphor? Is this really a metaphor for these last few years, or am I, story weaver and symbol hunter, just looking for meaning? I don’t know yet. The weather was lovely and I will hike the new trail again because it is here and I need to be outside but I can’t shake the sadness that fills me. I long to give you the silver lining but I don’t have it. I still want to share my day with you because that is part of who I am now.

A story weaver and a symbol hunter training my eyes to seek beauty,
Blog Med Sig 4


Anonymous said...

hi joybird! i love your hiking pictures - i am new to your blog and i haven't read much yet, and am wondering if you are in california? sure looks like it - i was born there, san bernardino area... my sis took me back to the area when i was a teenager, and that your pics are just what it looked like! thank you for the hike, i love walking outside in nature too - and the orange flowers (poppies?) - so pretty.

nic said...

oh to live in the middle of all that gorgeousness! i love that you have walking trails so close by. i run through the neighborhoods here (well, when it warms up), but even in their leafy tidy lawn-ness they can't hold a candle to hilly dirt trails.

sometimes it's good to take a new route even if just to discover you really like the old better. plus all those orange flowers and that row of mailboxes? sublime.

Leslie said...

So much of what you write resonates with me. A sufferer of chronic illness for many years, I know what it's like to have the trail turn out differently than you hope and dream. To train your eyes to search for beauty in unforseen or unexpected places. May we both have grace for the journey, wherever He takes us.

happygirl said...

Wow! I love your trail pictures. I fancy myself a hiker, but...I haven't had the best hiking experiences. (remind me to tell you about the time I got rescued) Thank you so much for the California Poppy picture. They are my FAVORITE flower. I love the trail by the stream better, too. I'm afraid of snake bites, not snakes.

happygirl said...
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Kristine said...

I love this. I am not an outdoorsy person and I probably would not hike anywhere by choice, but these pictures make me want to hunt down a trail to follow. Unfortunately, there are not so many places like this nearby in Tampa.

Cindy said...

I get the metaphor...right now, for me, I believe that the lesson here is not finding beauty or value in the condition of the trail - but in who (and even more so - Who) is walking with me...


Farmgirl Paints said...

you ARE a nature lover. beautiful pics and especially love the one of your feet;) great minds think alike!

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

Your "prelude" picture? Perfection. Also, the mail boxes.

And like you, I search hard for symbolism, too. I've often wondered why. Guess that's just the way we were wired.

Maybe what I'm trying to say is, "Me, too." ;)

Peace to you tonight, friend.

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