A Walk, a waterfall and a chance…

  I walked out of the cellar door into the morning darkness and began loading my truck with things I would need for the day. A thin sliver of the moon could be seen across the valley and bright stars lit up the sky. Once I was packed I double checked to make sure I had enough to eat and drink, along with my medication. As I exhaled before getting in the vehicle I could see my breath slowly drift upward. In another hour the sun would be climbing over the mountains in the east.

  The drive was pleasant. There’s nothing quite like being on a desolate road in the middle of God’s country. Although I had a cell phone I knew it wouldn’t help me if I ran into a problem.

  Around 7 o’clock I found the place I was looking for. It was a utility line encased in yellow plastic, which was anchored in the ground a few feet in front of  a large hemlock tree. In the past I had noticed there was enough room to safely park my truck there.  I quickly backed into the spot.

  After I loaded my backpack I began my journey into some beautiful country. I had only been in this piece of woods two times. Over the previous few weeks I longed for this time alone. I wanted to walk through the woods, take in the sights and sounds of nature, and enjoy my own company. While it’s always nice to have a companion by your side, it’s also nice to have that one on one time, too. This was a day that I had planned just for that reason.

   As I got deeper into the wilderness I felt a spiritual awakening of sorts. My senses became more alert. I could smell the fresh air like a bee smells a flower. I could hear the noises in the woods like I was an animal who lived there. I could feel a brisk breeze on my face as if it was saying goodbye to winter and hello to spring. I was definitely where I needed to be.

  The daily hassles of life have beaten me down a little bit over the last few months. At times I felt like I have been punched in the gut. There are some things that make a habit of sucking the life out of you if you allow them to. Although I try my best to avoid situations like that, I still confront them from time to time. After all, I am human, just like the rest of you.

  There are many people who constantly claim they’re happy. They wear their happy faces and any other emotions are non-existent. I’ve read enough self-help material to know people who are ALWAYS happy usually are trying to hide something. While I can fake with the best of them, I also show my cards when a bad hand is dealt. I don’t think it shows weakness to express your feelings. It’s essential to your growth.

  After a half hour of walking I decided to take a break. I found a huge yellow birch tree to sit under. I kicked the leaves away and nestled my back against the trunk. I fumbled through my backpack until I found the bottle of water and banana I had packed. I felt the cool water travel from my mouth to my belly. It was a sensation that’s hard to explain. After I peeled the banana I made quick work of it. Although I was only a mile from the road I felt like I was in the Alaskan wilderness. 

  After a few minutes I became quite comfortable, but I realized it was time to get up. I had so much I wanted to see and sitting there wasn’t going to help me accomplish anything.

  As I aimlessly wandered through the woods I kept thinking about my parents. They were on vacation in Hawaii. They were cruising to all of the Hawaiian islands for a week and then spending a week on-shore. They had asked me to go many times. I chose to stay home. Without anyone to accompany me I didn’t want to waste money and act as a third wheel. Their trip was basically a trip to celebrate their 47th anniversary. Wow, 47 years! I can’t believe that. I’ve always wondered how some people do it, especially in today’s world. It takes a lot of hard work, commitment, and dedication. I commend both of my parents for that. I’m sure there were many times they never imagined being together for this many years. I”m thankful for every one of those years. Their relationship has made my life easier and much more enjoyable. I’m able to share the highs and lows with both of them at the same time or separately.

   My mind bounced back and forth between my parents and my current status in life as I continued through the woods. I’m not where I expected to be at this stage in my life, but I also feel I have a lot left to accomplish. I’ve set goals and I’ve stayed on track in my pursuit of them. I’ve recently added a very large and probably the most demanding goal I’ve ever had; I’m going to write a novel.

  The two books I’ve written were relatively easy to write. This new project will require a little more patience, persistence, and determination. I’m unsure of when I’ll begin, due to my upcoming surgery. I could be laid up for 6-9 months, so it will give me a lot of time to come up with an outline. Since I won’t be able to write or type I’ll have to clear my mind to organize and analyze certain things.

  Before long I could hear the river down below me. It was a dull echo that resembled  something smashing off from rocks. It wasn’t overly loud, but it was distinct. I climbed onto a flat rock and took a seat. I looked across the valley in front of me and drifted from though to thought. My mind was quiet  but active if that makes sense.

  I’ve encountered a few things that have let me down over the last month. I’ve realized it’s impossible to be let down if I go into things without any expectations.  Sometimes when we really want something to happen we become centered on it and lose our direction. Our conscious minds become too involved, which creates chaos. We start babbling endlessly to our friends about our disappointment. We do more things to keep our mind occupied. We get wrapped up in the “why me” mindset and nothing seems to go right.

  I’ve been a little guilty of this, too. Instead of concentrating on things that don’t happen and searching for answers it’s probably better to focus on the great things happening. When our friends talk to us repeatedly about the same thing it’s obvious they’re distressed. The best thing we can do is listen. Sometimes they don’t even want us to offer advice.

  As I glanced across the valley I could see the waterfall a few miles away. It brought out a sense of freedom in me I haven’t experienced in a while. I have to jump into the stream like a drop of water and freefall over the waterfall.  My stomach might come up into my throat. I might break apart when I hit the rocks below. I might bounce onto another drop of water and ride along for the journey. I might gently land into a pool of water below and find comfort in the chaos. No matter what I choose to do I must take chances. Our greatest rewards come from our greatest risks. Give things a chance. Jump into the stream and let yourself fall over the waterfall. You never know what could be waiting for you after the unexpected leap.



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