Begin with Determination Remembering As the slope Increases Baby steps Are best Requiring Less energy Rest stops Are necessary But never Long enough At some point The destination Will feel farther Away than when You started But once the end Is in sight Relief floods Body, mind, soul Celebrating while Begging for rest Time to just be In the place you Struggled to reach Grateful, tho once again Never long enough…
Yesterday, my husband and I cheered on our daughter as she ran her first 5K! Yesterday, our youngest son was in Texas, helping our oldest son and his wife move to a new apartment! Today, I remember how we were all together just two months ago, hiking to Browns Falls in Colorado. Today, I am grateful. ❤️
Tiny lanterns Too numerous To count Carefully drape The night skies A select few Are strung Between Silhouetted Pine branches Beautifully Complex And yet The simplest Of words Draw close Twinkle, twinkle little star Familiar tune Quietly hums In the night air Star light, star bright Innocent wishes From days gone Gently return The simplest Of words Tiny lanterns Driving the darkness away
I love Colorado! Our family has taken many vacations to this beautiful state. We are currently here with our adult children. We have been relaxing and enjoying the cooler temps and beautiful surroundings.
Today was a family hike. And it affected me in a way I had not expected.
I knew this hike would be challenging. 6.2 miles with an elevation gain of 941.6 ft., beginning at an elevation of 8,913 ft. But the thought of family time witnessing mountain scenery, wildflowers, and a waterfall was motivating. The views did not disappoint! But that was not what consumed my thoughts as we trekked up and back down this mountain trail.
No doubt, my hiking pace would be the slowest of the group. All the kids are in their twenties. And Gart is in a little better shape, stronger. This truth was quickly realized as we headed down, or should I say, up the trail.
I am at a disadvantage, I thought.
I was bringing up the rear. Keeping my own pace. Telling myself that was ok. But also falling behind. And we were just getting started. And then this thought popped into my head.
Is this how some students feel at school? Ones facing a disadvantage? Whether in ability, family support, or resources. How do they feel when they sense they are falling behind? Are they, like I was, afraid of not reaching their goal?
My family slowed down and waited for me to catch up. After a short break, I was placed in the middle of the pack. No one seemed to mind the slower pace. They encouraged me.
You can do this, mom! Remember, take smaller steps. Breathe and relax your shoulders.
And even though still afraid, I kept going. Even picked up my pace just a little. At our next stop, Gart suggested I take the lead. They would follow me. Of course, he remained close behind. Constantly saying I was doing great. Reminding me that I am strong.
I still had doubts, but my determination was growing. I wanted to reach the top of the trail and gaze at that majestic waterfall with my family.
We told the kids to go on ahead. They needed to move a little faster. We would see them at the top! It felt good to let them go ahead of us. Gave me even more reason to keep going. Even though my body hurt. It was hard to catch my breath. And it would take every drop of energy and willpower I could muster.
Gart and I continued together. I asked him to take a picture of an unusual flower for me. We walked over log bridges across the flowing creek several times. The water flowed underneath from the waterfall that would soon be in sight.
I was going to make it! I struggled not to cry. Needed to keep breathing. As we rounded the last corner, I saw our daughter, Rachel. Smiling, hands up in the air. You made it! A big hug and tears came. I felt so proud.
Our son, Robert, and his wife, Erin, had hiked above the falls. They waved and smiled. Ryan, our youngest, was sitting nearby on a rock and soon walked over. You made it!
The waterfall was mesmerizing. A roaring cascade of water flowed over the edge to the stream below. I sat and had a snack and some water. We took pictures. And then the inevitable. We had to go back down.
Yes, most of it was downhill, but my body was exhausted. Some spots required careful steps. But thanks to the continuing encouragement of my husband and some light, cooling rain showers, I made it back to the car.
I can’t believe I did it! Pretty sure I said that at least ten times.
In all my relief at completing this six-mile hike, I couldn’t shake those earlier thoughts about students who are at a disadvantage.
What if they had someone to pull them from behind to the middle of the pack? What if their confidence grew enough to take the lead? What if they fluctuated back and forth, working hard, supported, and encouraged until reaching their goal?
I guess today’s hike made me focus on the beauty of humanity over nature. Realizing the ability each of us has to make a difference in the lives of others. Grateful that today, I was on the receiving end. ❤️
There are times we all need to hear-You can do it! Don’t give up! You will not be disappointed when you look back at the journey and see how far you’ve traveled.
Not sure which Took my breath Away first… Beauty Or elevation A 360 degree Perspective No formations Blocking my view I could see Where I was going And where I’d been All of it Storms ahead Storms behind Cool breezes And sunlight In between Clarity of lessons Learned quickly As well as those Requiring repetition Each one Revealing purpose In passing landscapes No wish To speed ahead No wish To slow down Only the desire to be Only the desire to live
I love spending time in Colorado. One specific area holds many memories. Family vacations with parents, kids, grandparents, grandchildren, and great-grandparents. Honeymoons and holidays, hiking, and fishing. Feeding the chipmunks. And, of course, beautiful scenery.
Gart and I are traveling to this spot with our three grown kids and daughter-in-law. What a treat! This sentimental mom can’t help looking back and looking forward. But mostly, I’m just enjoying all of us being together.
Our last full day in Colorado, we chose to hike the Agnes Vaille Falls trail. This particular hike is not long, about a mile and a half round trip. The problem for non-locals is elevation. The trail begins at around 9,000 ft. and another 500 ft. is gained by the falls overlook.
I hiked this trail for the first time twenty-six years ago. Gart and I were on our honeymoon. Younger, and in much better shape, it was not a tough trek. And the views were amazing!
I’ve hiked the trail several other times since then. The last time was in 2012, a little harder for me than that very first hike on our honeymoon in 1993.
Gart, Rachel, and Ryan wanted to make the hike on this trip. I wanted to as well but wasn’t confident I could make it to the top. I am a tad older, and not exactly in tip-top shape. But I had to give it a try.
We headed out, water bottles in tow. Gart reassured me we would take breaks. We let the kids go ahead of us. Not long on the trail, and I was breathing heavy. I kept telling myself, “You can do this. Just keep moving.” But honestly, I was worried.
Then I heard the most encouraging words coming from my husband. “You can do this. Remember, tiny little steps. One foot in front of the other. You’re doing great!”
Gart knew how much I wanted to succeed. He also recognized my doubts. Perfect timing, his words were exactly what I needed to hear. The higher we went, the more confident I became. My thought changed to, “You are going to make it!” And for just a moment, I fought back a few tears.
About three-quarters of the way up, there is a huge flat rock on the trail. It provides a perfect spot for photo ops with a beautiful mountain backdrop. We have a picture of us standing on this rock from our honeymoon and then again in 2012.
Despite some changes to the trail, that rock still sits in its place. And when we reached that rock on this hike? I was so happy! There were no remaining doubts in my mind. Our daughter, Rachel, snapped our picture in the same spot we first stood twenty-six years ago. And me being mom, we also got a pic of her and her younger brother, Ryan.
Once we reached the peak of the trail, the waterfall was clearly in sight. We stood there, looking across the rocky ravine at the beautiful falls. We snapped pictures, talked to another hiker, and studied how the area has changed.
On our way down, we chose an alternate loop trail. A few turns and steps lead down to the flowing stream. I heard Gart’s voice once again. “Well, Mama, how much of an adventure are you in for?” I certainly couldn’t quit now!
Moments later, we were crossing the stream. Carefully placing our steps, we walked across some fallen trees. Further down the trail, we did it again!
The remainder of the hike was easy, all downhill. The hardest part long past. As we reached the car, I was smiling. “Yay! I did it!”
I’m sure Gart would argue, but I would not have made it without his words of encouragement. Seeing those falls again, taking our picture, experiencing this beautiful place with my family…it was worth each tiny little step.
In my childhood experience, brown, spiky pinecones equaled crafts. Searches for them were fun. Walking around outside, I looked for ones of various sizes. Once enough were collected, the possibilities were endless.
They could be painted and used to create cool prints. Add some glue and glitter, and it was a Christmas tree ornament. Quite often they were slathered in peanut butter and rolled in seeds. Voila! A tasty treat to hang outside for the birds.
When I think back to collecting these interesting pieces of nature, I don’t remember ever looking up. I knew they came from those tall, towering trees. But gave little thought to what they looked like before hitting the ground.
As I sat on the deck outside our Colorado cabin enjoying the cool morning breeze, I happened to look up. Near the top of one of the pines, I noticed bunches of green pinecones. Their color created a sort of camouflage among the pine needles. Hanging on until it was time to fall.
I honestly hadn’t noticed this before. I’m glad that morning was different. It reminded me that my focus is often is singular. Only looking for that one thing I want to look for.
Perhaps I should look up more often. There is so much more to life than what is right in front of me. New challenges and possibilities are all around.
But what if trying something new leads to a fall, and just like those pinecones, I land on that bed of pine needles below? That is ok. I can look up, remember where I started, and know there is still plenty for me to do. The possibilities are endless!
Living in this age of technology, the words “no signal” are usually unwelcome. They mean no calls, texts, posts, emails. There is no way to know what’s happening in the world, at least not quickly.
I spent last week in a place with no signal. The choice was intentional. Gart, Rachel, Ryan, and I vacationed in the mountains of Colorado. Our cabin was in the middle of Chalk Creek Canyon.
We talked, laughed, played card games. We also spent time fishing and hiking. Each of us enjoyed this place in our way.
I listened to the rushing mountain stream behind our cabin. Smelled the fresh scent of pine trees towering all around. Intently observed the creatures who inhabit the surroundings.
As I sat on the front porch, hummingbirds hovered at bright red feeders sipping the sugar water. They perched on tree branches for a brief moment. And just as quickly, they flew away.
Chipmunks were the next to arrive on the scene. They chased each other around the trees. Poking their heads up from behind the rocks, they scouted out the situation. “Yes, there are people here. But I think it’s safe. They’ve got food!”
All of these sights and sounds brought peace. There were no distractions, no to-do lists, no world news tonight. These few days in the mountains provided much-needed time away to rest and recharge.
Today we are driving home. There are only a few weeks of summer remaining. It is time to prepare for the upcoming school year. This week I will begin planning, setting up my classroom, and attending meetings.
I am ready to be plugged in and connected. Ready to greet a new school year. Ready, thanks to a few days of quiet in the mountains with no signal.