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. ❤️
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.
I sat with The heaviness All-day My heart wrapped In a blanket of grief The day wrapped In weeping clouds
A peak of the sun Broke my stillness Only a glance Out the window Surely I should not soak it in How could I? Amid so much suffering
That sweet sunshine Not to be ignored Determined to draw me out Shone a little brighter Bravely displaying light And shadow Simultaneously
I couldn’t keep from smiling Even as my heart Continued to cry
I participated in a writing circle yesterday facilitated by Ali Grimshaw fashlightbatteries. Time writing and sharing with this group of women was just what my heart needed. ❤️
Today, my husband and I went on a three-mile hike. It was a bit more challenging than I care to admit. 😉But the time spent with him, walking through the forest with no outside distractions, was also much-needed. I am so glad he encouraged me to keep going.
I snapped this picture on a recent weekend getaway with my husband, Gart. The lodge we visited was built on the edge of a cliff. Views of the valley below were breathtaking. Birds flew all around. It was a perfect spot for some quiet relaxation.
But that sign…I chuckled the first time I walked past. I even witnessed several people coming and going safely from the entrance to the trail. Still, I was hesitant.
After breakfast on our first morning, we ventured toward that sign. We walked the short distance down to the edge of the cliff. It was a narrow trail, but not scary, except for that “edge of the cliff” thing.
When we reached our stopping point, there were several big rocks- perfect places to sit and rest. Some seats were closer to the edge than others. No surprise, I chose the first available seat. Gart, however, picked one just a few steps further.
The logical part of my brain knew he was in no real danger. But the anxiety, afraid of heights part of me-well, it struggled. We were both seated, taking pictures, enjoying the scenery. Both perfectly safe. Yet, my imagination had him slipping and falling off the edge.
Later in the day, I thought about that hike and the warning sign. Life kind of feels that way right now. Like there is a danger sign around every corner. It is easy to become fearful and anxious.
At this moment, I am safe and healthy. My family is safe and healthy. But the news reports daily virus increases. There are increased warnings about travel, the importance of masks, and social distancing. Not to mention the impossible questions concerning a return to school.
Like the edge of that cliff, the potential for danger is real. And just like the warning sign at the trailhead, there are potentially life-saving signs offering help through the pandemic. But only if I read and follow the signs.
This trail of dirt
And rocks, a
Guide calling me
Into the forest
Each step leading
Canopy of green
Shade hides the
Light of the sun
Lessens the effects
Of its heat
At the moment
Wave from branches
Fallen ones create
A colorful carpet
Birds sing songs
In the distance
As if calling me
Their lyrical invitation-
Please come in!Meet some of theOther residents-
Buzzing bees and
Butterflies flit past
As I sit and rest
A grateful visitor
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.