Hiking Prompts by Heidi Robertson 7/11/2013
Hiking alone is not a lonely misfortune. It gives one a lot of time to think, to take control of Ego, set one’s mind straight so to speak. In pondering a recent TREK, the grueling uphill “Women’s Pull,” I skipped along the Timpanogos trail, and had a kind of epiphony, realizing that “trail” is only one letter off from “trial.” It was in this great outdoor cathedral that I had a personal revelation:
The past does not define me, only reminds me of a path that I once traveled. Hiked and largely liked, getting my feet wet, feeling, seeing, breathing, drinking everything in. Today, I am living present in the moment, in my choice. Unaware of trail scars, only treasures. As long as I keep moving forward in love, I trust that Christ will tend my calloused blisters at the end of the day. Remembering to pray.
We must choose our steps carefully, wisely along steep, rocky, root-riddled paths. Not be afraid of sweating and raising heart rates, but take frequent rests and water breaks. Not be deceived by water which entices… crystal clear and quenchable, because giardia abounds. Ingest living waters.
If we are stiff-necked, it’s because our pack’s too heavy, and we are looking down too much, absorbed in pain. We need to be alert to danger, yes, but also aware. Aware of the miracles that abound, sometimes even in the same crucial moment, there is definition. Wonder in seeing a young moose foraging the run-off of First Falls, but take care to warn inocent hikers of inherent risk that mama moose could be just through the branches. Turn eyes upward to take in majesty and grace, let our Lord and His angels lift our burden. Coexist in giving. Loving.
The long, smooth, wide trails may feel safest. Fields of mountain primroses glorious. Chamomile nodding white haired heads approvingly. Not always best for us. Unknowingly, I find myself gawking off at scenery, not paying attention to where I’m going, or absorbed in friendly conversation, only to stumble unexpectedly over my own two feet. We are our own stumbling blocks. But we are also precious.
If we are being bitten by too many deer flies, is it from some fault of our own, forgotten bug spray? Or do we think that maybe this is part of what the experience is meant to be. After all, they just want to drink our sweetness. Life is abundant and there is more than enough to go around. Maybe the brief sting is okay. Maybe not. I think our soul knows. Sometimes even one deer fly is one too many. But God created deer flies, and all that God creates is good.
Is it the path or the hiker that makes the journey? I think both. Above all, God. Without Him, a vaccuum. No gravity, no grounding, no law of attraction. It is He who gives us life, the blessings of nature, and the eyes to see the beauty and lessons in it all. Whether we see “Trail” or “Trial” is in the spelling and intended meanings we assign. We create our reality. That power is grand and makes us co-creators in His hands.