[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, February 22, 2012]
This certainly feels like a pivotal day . . . a life-changing day.
My day started out in a “usual” way . . . I was planning to attend the conscious business group meeting that starts at 8:15am. It takes me 30 minutes to travel from my house to the meeting venue (in City #1), and I like to arrive a few minutes before 8:15 so I’m not rushing in as they are calling the meeting to order. That means I should leave my house around 7:40am at the latest.
I often teach until 8:00 or 8:30 at night. Then, I’ll head home, often taking a shower after that . . . I can’t take a shower in the morning because my housemates take their showers in the mornings, and then they start grooming dogs immediately after that, so they need the hot water and water pressure in the morning and then into the late afternoon.
The only time I can take a shower is after I get home from the studio. Then, after I wash my hair in the shower, I have to wait until my hair air-dries. (My hair takes quite a while to dry because it is long and thick. And, I don’t blow-dry it because that causes it to fluff out into a huge fuzz-ball that resists taming.)
So, bottom line, I often don’t go to bed until 11:00pm or midnight . . . and that makes it very difficult to get up and get out the door by 7:40am . . . not to mention that I habitually run late getting out the door in the mornings (I do fine in the afternoons and evenings). I’ve been working to do better with being on-time to things, but today I didn’t do better . . .
As usual, I was running about 10 minutes late getting out the door this morning. And, traffic was heavier than normal. When I got to a main cross-street near the business group’s meeting place, I got caught by a red traffic light. While I waited for the green light, I checked the time . . . I was going to be 12-15 minutes late . . . did I mention that I really don’t like being late?
And, a day or two ago, the group’s leader left a message on my phone. She said they are reorganizing the group – distributing the leadership responsibilities to a whole leadership team rather than having only a couple of people carrying all the responsibility.
My week has been so busy . . . I hadn’t even had time to listen to her message in its entirety. I only listened to enough to know she was asking me to shoulder some of the load. I really don’t want to take on anymore . . . I’m already struggling to keep up with the responsibilities I have . . . I didn’t want to have to face her and admit that I haven’t even listened to her message . . . how can I tell her “no” if I haven’t taken the time to figure out what exactly she was asking of me . . . ???
All of that was weighing on my mind . . . I just didn’t want to deal with it . . .
Furthermore, ever since I’ve been vividly reminded by Luke how important it is to spend time in nature, I’ve been aching to go into the mountains . . . to go be with nature . . .
I’ve been telling myself I’m not yet healthy enough to go to the mountains . . .
But, sitting there at the red light at that major intersection, something shifted for me. In a flash, I changed my intent. When the light turned green, instead of turning left towards the business meeting venue, I turned right and headed to the mountains.
It took me about 15 minutes to reach the mouth of the main canyon leading into the mountains. As soon as I got to the mouth of the canyon, I could feel the stress start draining out of my body. I took my time traveling up the narrowing, winding canyon . . . I took the time to take in the views . . . lots of evergreens, lots of snow drifted up all over the place . . .
I wasn’t really sure where I was going or what I was going to do once I got there. I didn’t have a plan.
After about 20 minutes of driving, I arrived at the Greyrock trailhead. I’ve hiked this trail a number of times and it is one of my favorites. I pulled into the parking lot and turned off my car. My car was the only car in the lot . . . not a surprise since it is a weekday . . . and a very windy day. Even though the temperatures were warm for February, “warm” in the mountains in February is not very warm. And, we were experiencing 60mph winds today . . . not an ideal day for being in the elements! The wind chill was below freezing.
As the wind buffeted my car, I keep thinking about how wind is synonymous with spirit. I thought:
Maybe I need a big spirit today – a big wind, a big spirit. Maybe the intense wind is very appropriate today for the shift that is occurring within me.
The good news is that I was somewhat protected in the canyon and the wind was blowing maybe half as hard as it had been blowing down in the city. But, it still was not an ideal “nature” day.
Oh . . . and, I was in dress clothes . . . and, I was wearing a lighter-weight winter coat – the one I wear all winter long as I dash from house to car to studio. It’s not suitable for sustained exposure. I most certainly was not prepared to be out in the elements today, especially not today. And, I had no water and no food . . . no hiking supplies . . .
The parking lot is on the south side of the highway and the trailhead is on the north side of the highway – this is because the narrowness and shape of the canon don’t leave enough room between the highway and the river for a parking lot on the north side. But, that’s no big deal as it is a two-lane highway (one lane each way) and there is not very much traffic on it. It’s easy to hop across the two lanes to the trailhead – and that’s what I did.
I took a few steps off the shoulder of the highway onto the path . . . the path between the highway and the bridge was steep and covered with icy snow. I was wearing my slip-on dress shoes that have slick soles . . . see the issue?
I gingerly took a few more steps, but I started slipping and sliding as the sideways slope of the path got steeper. The far side of the trail sports a relatively steep 20-foot drop-off. I nearly slid down that drop-off. While it wouldn’t have been a fatal fall by any means, it could have easily caused a disabling injury. If I were unable to climb back up onto the highway, the subsequent hypothermia would certainly be fatal. No one knew I was up there; no one would know to go looking for me.
So, I decided it would be best to just sit down, right there where I stood . . . to put my butt directly onto the snow (like there was any other choice?) I was maybe 7-8 feet off the shoulder of the highway . . . not exactly the most “nature-ish” spot, but not too bad since vehicle traffic was nearly non-existent. It was still very quiet and peaceful.
I just sat there and listened to the wind whipping through the trees . . . felt the sun warming my face . . . I sat there and soaked it all in.
[Continued in the next post . . . ]