Last June was difficult for a variety of reasons but one reason being I was not in Northern New England to enjoy lupine season. I vowed when the 2020 season arrived I would make it a point to get out and explore.
A few weeks ago in central Maine I came across my favorite flowering plant and today in the White Mountains of New Hampshire lupine was out for all to see. I am going to share a collection of photos from my trip. If this doesn't give you ideas for a story, I don't know what would.
The moral of this week's blog - get outside and explore.
In the craziness and upheaval that 2020 has become, I decided this morning I needed to revisit my past in order to get more perspective and peace of mind.
Sure I wasn’t marching in a city protest or writing an op piece for a local paper, but instead focusing on the greatest change, that from within. That’s where things begin right? One must be centered and clear in order to grow and be a true instrument of love.
To that end, I headed into the woods, up a trail I have not hiked since my late teens. I have to admit I didn’t expect this hike to become an laborious task but in some ways it was that and more. The first part of the trail was littered with loose rocks and mud.
True to what we are dealing with at present, we have to walk through this muck and grime, in order to leave behind those failings and tasks that define our very being. For some that is easier said than others.
Once clear of the mud, the terrain lightened up briefly before a steep incline of rocks, boulders, and roots. To continue moving forward, these obstacles had to be overcome. More often than not, in the past, even a slight obstacle could deter some from moving forward. I had my hiking stick, so with some careful navigation I protected my ankles from rolling and safely navigated the path.
In some regard this part of the path was easier than the mud. It was far less dirty and aside from the occasional root to trip me up, metaphorically and physically I was able to maintain a steady pace.
Then the raw, uncovered roots appeared. This reminder not of Bilbo Baggins and Mirkwood Forest, but of our warts and scabs that have been uncovered, this was not the most beautiful part of the trail. It was downright creepy and uncomfortable. You could safely hike through the lined path of death but still had to face those skeletons and shadows.
Once through the real progress was made. The path opened up and was even level. I gained the most ground on this section. It was as though I had come up through the mud, scaled the tricky rock portions, reflected on those times I had been closed off and ignored the past.
Of course the hike wasn’t done, far from it. Like any journey, especially now with there being clear sides on what is right and what is wrong, the toughest part was yet to come. The wide open trail branched off. To the left was a narrow path that went upward. There were rock faces, more roots, and steep grades in wait.
I imagined some would give up at this portion of the hike. It was far easier to stay on the level grade and continue on the merry path in the opposite direction. Some don’t want real change, an ever lasting one that means we all move forward. It’s safer to say you looked at the past and that’s enough - sort of like a band aid, an illusionary effort to mask the hardest part of the journey.
Not to mention, some aren’t ready to take those final steps, no matter the outcome.
I took the steep incline. I had come too far to not continue the task. Funny enough, I had never gone this way before. I recalled years earlier, I had taken the flatter route, the safe way to the top. Not this time. I had my support system, my trusty hiking stick, a good set of shoes, and balance to scale these roots and rocks.
As I trudged upwards, slowly I might add, because anything done right should be done right the first time around. Come on now, you don’t want to rush and fall, only to be stuck in the very spot you want to overcome. So I looked for the safest path among these many pitfalls and made for the top.
Eventually, even though the path got steeper and more difficult, I could see the blue sky opening up above the tree line. My pace quickened even as I found myself with my hands balancing my steps on the rock face.
Then I made it to the view I had sought out to find. There was the lake, the mountains, mother nature at her finest. The path I took while perhaps not as “safe” as years earlier, was better for the soul and conscience.
I took everything in and realized that while I made the journey up others had to do the same. They all will in time. In fact, after I took a few photos to remember this moment, I turned around and headed back.
Unlike Sisyphus, I didn’t follow the same route down the mountain. No, I had learned how to navigate the trail in a way that was safer and quicker, with a new understanding that this was just the beginning. Others had come before me and paved a new path only now clear from above.
The rocks and roots were no longer obstacles. I had come off the mountain top and knew there was much more that could be accomplished with time and perspective.
Finally, as I took those final steps down to the parking lot below, I saw the mud and grime I had passed through before. From the safety of my new trail, I knew I didn’t have to go that way again and neither do any of us after we make this climb of equality and love.