Rain and old trees

I hiked 8 miles yesterday. Two hours amidst a thunderstorm. In the high Sierra. Actually, I had grand plans to backpack by myself for 3 days. The by myself part was the easiest. I wasn’t worried (unlike my parents…which is what they do and I love them for it). The sixty pound pack became the hard part and–coupled with the rain–waylaid my plans. Despite how fit I am, I’m still only 5’3″ 1/2, and 125 lbs. I should only be carrying thirty-five pounds on my back. Not sixty. In the past, I’ve backpacked with someone. Someone that could carry half of our stuff. Yesterday I had the bear canister and the tent, 2 very heavy (when on your back) pieces. The last time I backpacked was 8 years ago. On my honeymoon. That honeymoon ended.

So…as I was sitting briefly under some shelter trying to decide what to do and having a small pity party, this song came to mind (which I promptly played in my car upon returning to it). I’ve listened to this song a lot over the past few months. I’ve always loved it, but it finally and completely makes sense to me.

After a bit, I got up, tucked my pack under a tree and kept walking. I accepted that I was not going to be backpacking any longer, but that the day did not have to end because of some pesky lightening and rain. Besides, there were a lot of other hikers. I kept hiking. I made it to a beautiful lake and then headed back down the mountain to my pack.

On the way up, happy with myself for continuing and for not completely giving up and for doing what I could do–in this case, a day hike–I came across trees like this:

Image

So weathered. They take a beating. Year in and year out. It’s not a choice. It’s just part of life. Some days they simply enjoy the sunshine. Some days, they’re partially buried in snow. And on other days, they get pelted by rain and hope they don’t get hit by lightening. But they’re still here. There’s no other choice. And they make the best of it.

And it struck me (not lightening, mind you), that it would be so simple if rain could simply wash everything away. All the non-happy stuff that’s happening in my life right now. But it doesn’t work that way. It takes a time. It’ll take many a beating (figuratively speaking). It’s part of the weathering process, this practice of living. There’s no other choice and it’s up to me to make the best of it.

And then this song came to mind. Another favorite. My day was good and I’m glad I had it just the way it was.

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