Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Always In Search

 I love to walk, run, and hike, and so I am always in search of beautiful pathways. Sometimes with companions, more often by myself, it has been a lifelong habit of seeking solace in the outdoors. Moving among trees or waves, coming upon a herd of deer, watching a bunny dart from under a bush, I relish the encounters. It's an important connection that brings joy in the simple moments of just walking.

Sometimes the path is in the middle of the city or in a big residential area, but there's something about a secluded tree lined path that makes me feel all alone. I hear thoughts once distant, see memories once faded, and create ideas that are new. Endorphins are coaxed out of their hidden cells. Beautiful pathways bring a subtle euphoria.

Even Sebastian felt the euphoria and had to climb out of the stroller.

For the most part, I find beautiful pathways when I don't have a camera, but they stay in my mind enabling me to return again and again: The Kaanapali Coast, the state park in Connecticut, the sand dune path in Southern Utah, the tide pools on a small island, the hot pot pathway in Yellowstone, the secret doorway to a park in Paris, the Tai Chi Park in China. In an instant the pathways appear and I am floating to distant lands. 

Yesterday, I dared the mountain side pathway thinking it would already be packed down and an easy run, but the only tracks were the hooves of deer. 

Still! How pleasant to know and see in my mind's eye, the leaping grace of a deer.

Sometimes, I am lured off a path. The smell of this cedar tree brought a rush of childhood memories. The berries! How many berries had I picked as a child and mixed with leaves and mud, to make the perfect dessert?

 When I walk to yoga class, I veer off the busy road to walk this path. It takes longer, but the to and from, is the perfect match to the contemplative practice.
As careful as I am to find and venture on beautiful pathways, I am even more careful in choosing life's pathways--friends, adventures, even sacrifices. These choices place us on a journey often longer and with more serious consequences. Even when we find ourselves on a pathway we didn't choose, Viktor Frankel taught us we still have a choice of a pathway within that pathway. Personal choice is the evader of all thieves. 

Once conscious of our choices, pathways can be skipped, jumped over, or emergency exited.

I love beautiful pathways. I love the power of choice.