I went hiking today. It was a little hilly in parts but not difficult. It just felt good to be out in the woods, walking a trail, breathing the air, surrounded by the lush, cool green of the mountains.
I have always loved hiking for its meditative and metaphorical qualities. I love the act of doing nothing other than putting one foot in front of the other – again, and again, and again… It’s very easy for me to suspend all other thought when I’m focusing only on whether there’s a branch on the ground that I need to avoid or a rock that looks like it might be unsteady under foot. I love the muffled way things sound in the woods and I always think about the trail as a metaphor for life itself. Sometimes it goes uphill, sometimes down, sometimes there’s an obstacle in your path, or slippery ground, or something kind of scary or surprising nearby (our guide, Janet, who’s also a naturalist, assured us that that snake was NON-poisonous).
The point is sometimes hiking, like life, is easier, sometimes it’s harder, sometimes I feel unsure of my footing, sometimes I’m not comfortable with or even afraid of something I encounter. Sometimes I become a bit bored or impatient to get to the end, or go faster than the group, but as in a meditation where you simply observe your own breathing in and breathing out, I note the responses I’m having then let them pass. No judgment. Just observation. And in the end, keep moving forward.