If I were a car, I’d be annoying to follow. I hike in bursts and sudden stops. Moving, moving, go, go…HALT! If I were following myself I’d be hard-pressed to anticipate my own stops. I stop first, then think about stopping. On a preconscious level, I note something I want to examine or photograph and I cease moving.
I’m sure a brain researcher could explain the neurological functions that occur when this happens. Perhaps my brain is primed and looking for creatures and plant life of interest to me. I do hike with my camera intentionally.
However, I prefer to interpret this biological behavior metaphysically because for me hiking is as much a spiritual experience as a physical one:
Leaving the trailhead, I embark on a journey with the one I call God. Typically, I fail to notice my traveling companion during the early miles of my hike. For awhile my divine hiking partner, allows me to set my own pace. As my muscles move, the toxins I carry with me are released. A space opens up within me that is open to creator and creation.
Once my being is open to the divine under my feet and surrounding me, I begin to notice the divine in the chattering squirrel, the towering pine, and the rock face.
But even so, sometimes as I’m hoofing it I run the risk of passing by someone I should meet. The divine hiker, stops me suddenly. It’s as if my hiking buddy shouts, “Wait! Look at this!”
In that moment my eyes focus on someone from whom I can learn. The most remarkable encounters I have on the trail are typically the result of these sudden stops.
This morning, I met the first wooly worm of fall from whom I learned that there is beauty and purpose in all seasons. She reminded me that life is cyclical. She touched my heart which has been grieving the disappearing summer and gave me joy for the seasonal shifts, each with purpose and presence worthy of my notice.
Earlier, my divine hiking partner grabbed my arm and pointed to the lavender robes in which the late summer flowers clothed themselves. From my extravagantly bedazzled flower, I learned to live fully in the moment.
Cool nights are upon us already. Bitter winds filled with snow will mark the end of lavender displays along the trail. Rather than worrying about what is to come, my floral friend celebrates the present in his best outfit.
As I neared the end of my hike, with trailhead and my car in view, I raced downhill only to have my victory burst halted. The morning sun had conspired with semi-transparent seed pockets to garner my attention.
From this friend, I learned that the future is within the now. While we are influenced by our past, the future beckons us in our becoming. Using not only the raw materials of the past and now but the future we are in the perpetual process of becoming. In this becoming, is where we are most wholly (holy) ourselves.