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.

Temporary. Yes.

So much heartache and self-doubt today. I know it’s temporary, but shit, it hurts. This too shall pass. Self-doubt, self-loathing. Confidence will return. Trust in myself, my beliefs, my story. My abilities, perceptions, and intuition. Everything I need is within me. Fully. Completely whole. Whole. I am whole.

Yes, mornings

Morning Poem by Mary Oliver 
from Dream Work (1986) 

via Brene Brown, PH.D.

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly,
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

Sunday inspired

:: summer weather

:: blooming roses

:: spring and summer sewing

:: summer travel planning

:: friends’ energy and commitment to a community-building event at my son’s school

Healthy food :: little league style

It’s little league season. My son is playing for the second year. My partner and I have never been “team players” but we’re completely accepting of his interest in group sports. My son lives with 3 females and we don’t want to deny him the sense of camaraderie, athleticism, team work, etc. that his 6.5-year-old self gets from team sports (or whatever it is that feeds something in him).

My one issue–and I have it with soccer, too–is the snacks. I’m that parent.  I prefer to keep crap that shouldn’t be in food and my children’s bodies, out of their bodies. It’s the basic stuff: high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, food coloring, and too much sugar. Unfortunately, my desire for my kids to eat healthy, whole foods, makes me seem like a food snob in many circles.

I do make exceptions. Grandad’s house. Grammie’s house. The elderly neighbors who are thrilled to give a kid a cookie. So, no, I’m not completely militant about it. But…ball games and practices 2-3 times per week, make me a bit more outspoken.

I just became the “food snob” parent for my son’s baseball team. The coach and the team mom offered to buy all of the snacks for  games at Costco. This is super nice and convenient and I appreciate them for it. Unfortunately, this doesn’t encourage fresh fruits and veggies after games. It encourages pre-packaged food with too much sugar and additives. I don’t like that. So, I told all of the other parents my views. I also backed it up by offering to do the shopping myself, taking full responsibility for my views and outspoken-ness.

I’m not mad at the other parents for their food choices. I get it. Pre-packaged food is easy. And with so many parents working full-time, it’s often the only viable option. And this is what makes me mad: we live in a society that requires so many parents to work full-time and not have the time to feed their kids–and themselves–healthy and whole food. And that food manufacturers and the government encourage this by making the easiest foods the least healthy.

It’s sad and unfortunate, and yes, I’m going to continue to be that parent.