There’s nothing quit like a hike in the woods, communing with Mother Nature while climbing over downed trees and avoiding stepping in patches of black mud, the occasional mosquito buzzing around your ear.
I found a trail to hike yesterday in the Jordan Lake State Park. It was a little cool when I first started my five mile trek. Sweatshirt weather is always great for a hike. It took me a little while to find the right place in the park to start from because I didn’t have a map and didn’t bother to do the google thing before entering the area. After stopping at a gatehouse for one of the camping areas I finally found the info that I needed from a sweet lady with a southern drawl. You gotta love the Carolina’s and those southern gals.
It was a solitary walk. I didn’t pass a single soul on the trail. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. It was just me, Mother Nature, the birds, the sun and my thoughts.
I am often surprised by the amount of gratitude that I feel in my heart. Gratitude for life, health, family, friends and for the life experiences that I have had. As I hiked I was feeling particularly appreciative that I have been able to travel this year and meet some of the wonderful people that I have met along the way. I spent a little while reviewing each of my hosts in my mind. I pictured their homes and recalled some of the conversations that we had as gratitude swelled up in my heart and I got a little choked up. A warm tear trickled down my cheek as I walked.
I stopped for a few minutes to look more closely at some blooms on a patch of trees where the sun was shining in. My mind went to my grandson, Brenden, back in Indiana. I was wishing that he could experience this hike with me. I wanted to talk with him about the gratitude that I was feeling, to explain to him why I am not in Indianapolis right now. I wanted to reassure him that he is very important to me.
If he had been with me I would have spent some time as we hiked explaining that we were following a trail that had been traveled by a lot of other people. I would have talked to him about the people who hung the markers on the trees to make it easier for us to find our way. I would have talked with him about the people who thought about those that would be coming behind them. I suppose that I would have acted much like Ward Cleaver would have acted if he were taking his sons for a hike in the woods. I’m certain that I would have found significance at every turn and that I would have been in teaching mode all day.
I would have said “Brenden, there are lots of lessons to be learned as we hike the trail of life”. It’s pretty normal for a Grandpa to want to pass down some of the knowledge that he has gathered as he walks with his grandson.
I really would have loved having him with me yesterday.
At one point I diverted from the trail and couldn’t see any markers. I simply backtracked about 80 to 100 yards and found my way. I would have discussed that with Brenden explaining that sometimes in life we have to do that. We have to go backwards to be able to get back on track. I would have warned him about walking through areas where the ground was really soft and muddy. You can slip and fall when the ground is wet. When you are walking alone it could be awhile before someone might find you. Or you might have to just keep going on, struggling through the pain of an injury.
Lots of lessons can be learned while hiking through the woods. I can say that I have learned a few things that are worth passing on. I like to think that Brenden and I would have had a good time and that he would have listened to me. Perhaps we’ll get a chance to hike together when I am back in Indiana in June. Yes, I think that I can make that happen.