I escaped eagerly out the door, ready to hit the trail and immerse myself in the experience. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and I had been cooped up inside for too long. I longed for some quiet reflection as I exercised other parts of my body rather than just my brain.
Armed with a map and a general concept of the path length and the time I had available down I went to Falcon Ridge Trail. It turned from an easy paved trail to a windy, hilly, full of twists and turns kind of trail. The air was warm and smelt like spring in the mountains. The gentle breeze cooled my skin as my exertion and the sun warmed it up.
As I walked along I reflected on how life was like my hike. There are spots where the trail is paved and level with very few obstructions and that analogy can relate to the good stages in life. I clambered over a downed tree and slithered down a few steep rock spots. The steep uphill climbs were short and intense in some areas and then longer and steady in others. These are the external barriers that we encounter in life, those hard times that force us to ante in and shove hard to get where we want to go. These correlate to ourselves with broken relationships, at a professional crossroads or struggling with responsibilities.
It was also obvious to me on this path that there was a great deal of natural beauty as I encountered both native landscapes full of flowers and maintained areas with beautiful displays of spring finery. I saw and heard a plethora of birds and saw one marmot. I also noticed on a small dead turtle in the middle of the path. There was a random yellow maple leaf on the edge of the path which touched my heart in a symbolic way. In noticing all of these items with my senses I allowed my body to rejuvenate from my surroundings. Too often we rush along and put up our own internal barriers so that we don’t absorb the little things which enrich our lives. When we are too busy to stop and smell the roses because we are making money, keeping our house immaculate or trying to impress “the Jones” we do ourselves a disservice. These beauties on the edge of the path can be parallel to the positives in our lives like friendships, fitness, education and spirituality.
There was a moment where the map, my sense of direction and the path didn’t all seem to correspond. Falcon ridge path ended, the golf path began and somewhere along there I was going to pick up the Birdie Lake Path. Only that’s not quite what played out as I missed the slightly hidden sign post and all of sudden I am surrounded by golfers looking for lost balls and the words “four” being yelled. This was definitely not what I bargained for when I couldn’t even see where the golf balls were coming from. The metaphor for this is really those life barriers (also known to some as random acts of shitiness) that happen to people like motor vehicle accidents, sudden loss of health, divorces and job layoffs. These are the items in life that we can’t plan for and can only pick ourselves up and start walking again along the path. One can only hope that when the shit hits the fan there are shoulders to lean on and ears to hear.
My walk was invigorating and exactly what I needed after two days of enlightenment through workshops. They were designed to broaden our understanding of human nature, the physical body and give us new tools to help make negotiating our own path. The biggest lesson is that there is no finish line of the trail of life. We need to engage our heart, mind and soul in taking care of ourselves, each other and the planet. It’s not the destination that is important but rather the character and quality of the journey.