Sunday, April 26, 2009

Names changed to protect the innocent

For those of you that know me, you know I've had some stresses lately that have been putting a cramp in my style. Things not going the way I had planned. Small disappointments, and lots of them. Nothing disastrous, but annoying, and eventually those little annoyances become like piranhas and slowly nibble you to death. Death by nibbling is not fun, by any means.

To try and alleviate this nibbling, nagging feeling I went for a walk today. I'm out of town, trying to make this into an adventure so I'm doing what I can to keep busy. I headed out about 6 AM or so, went to the park I had my eye on, and started hiking. It was a smallish park (or so I thought), maps available, multiple trails with fun names like Overlook Pass, and Waterfall Loop. Having this odd obsession with water that I do, I headed for the waterfall one. I figured I'd go, get some pictures, have some fun, do a little birding, and start my day out right. I've been needing a day that starts out right.

And at first it did. But then, as is wont to happen with my adventures, a shiny object crossed my path, and I set off after it. I'm not bright, I can deal with that. You can too, apparently, or you wouldn't be reading. Unless you just like laughing at this life I call mine. The shiny object, if you were wondering, was a summer tanager. I hadn't seen one in the wild before, but I'm 95% sure that's what it was.

Well, before I knew it, I was in sight of not a single trail, and surrounded by fairly steep ravines and headwater streams. Not steep if you're prepared for them, I'm sure, but at 7 AM in mules and lounge clothes, carrying a camera and binoculars among other things, they looked steep. Not a person in sight. Not a single sound of a car. Nothing remotely trail looking. Hmm. So I kept walking. It's an urban park, I couldn't really get lost, right?

The walking kept getting harder, more slipping, more landing in creeks, less time spent on pictures. Less, not none, mind you- I still got some great shots. The option of going down anymore decreased as I got closer to the river that the creeks were feeding into. The option of going up did not look any easier. It finally came to a point where I slung the camera on my back and shut it off so I could concentrate on climbing. About four hours after I went in, I came out of the park. With the help of a couple of kind police officers and after a few calls. Aside from some bumps, bruises, dirty clothes and a few minor scrapes, I came out undamaged. It was not my proudest moment.

However, I learned a lot of little lessons, and was reminded of some I already knew. First, as much as I love the detail, sometimes you have to step back and look at the bigger picture. One can make serious progress that way. And motion is not always appropriate, sometimes life requires stillness and thoughtfulness. Following that, forward motion does not always get you closer to your goal. For those times, you may need a little backwards or lateral motion. Sometimes you have to put away the things that are dear to you in order to protect them. It would be nice if we could share our lives fully with what we love, but it's not always practical or in anyone's best interest. Finally, there comes a time when you're falling and you just need to give in, sit down, and enjoy the trip down. Of course there's also the observation that sometimes the best time spent has nothing to do with what you thought it did, but that's one that I know very well and could never forget.

Hope your weekend has been wanderful as well!


  1. glad you got out of the woods, i would have missed your smart a@#. always better when you get out with life lessons!

  2. ha ha ha ho ho ho oh, I'm totally not laughing *at* you................... glad you were found!