Archives for category: solo hiking

After having a great day, yesterday, I managed to come home in a pretty good mood. That did not last. Like a flash-flood, my irritability developed quickly, out of my physical discomfort, and became “a thing” that really messed with my general contentment. It didn’t wreck my sleep or anything, and I managed to generally, mostly, enjoy the evening, and mostly, generally, maintained a more or less chill approach to things, once I bounced back. Evenings are too short for bullshit; it’s nearly always worth the effort to regain my balance, and restore my typically merry baseline. No time to waste on drama – life is all to brief.

Our path is not always obvious, level, paved, or well-lit. Sometimes it is.

…I did learn an important lesson from my less-than-ideal experience last night, though… it’s too soon for tacos. Yep. That’s it. Practical life lesson. Tooth extractions and tacos don’t really “go together”, and eating foods not well-suited to the healing needs of this hole in my jaw is a poor choice. That’s how I got from “pleasant” to “fuck this shit” so quickly last night; I got something stuck in the still-quite-tender tooth socket which is no longer filled with a molar. lol Between just sort of freaking me out, emotionally, and the actual discomfort, it was a very quick transition from the fragile pleasantness of the evening to momentary misery. It also served as a reminder that practices are always practices, never rising to the level of reliable mastery; I do well to keep practicing. πŸ™‚ I feel fortunate that the evening did not end up worse, and that my difficult irritable moments did not linger far longer. I remind myself it is less about “good fortune” and more about the verbs, choices, and incremental change over time that results from those.

Flower or weed? It’s a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

I sip my coffee thinking about days and weeks ahead. Individual plans being what they are, it looks like I’ll have a couple weeks of solitude at home. I’m looking forward to that, and enjoy my Traveling Partner’s sharing of plans, as he works out this detail or that one, figuring out his route, and timing, and stops along the way. I am eager for him to enjoy his experience. Eager for me to enjoy mine – and patiently, gently, ignoring the subtle hints of anxiousness over the imminent (temporary) separation; I enjoy the solo time quite a lot. I will miss him greatly, nonetheless. I eye my calendar suspiciously, cynically, and with some amusement; he’s re-planned this trip a couple times now, will it really jump from calendar to real life, this time? Well… it did make it to the calendar…

…The woman in the mirror reminds me to take care of me, also, and to see the world, to visit distant friends, to get out onto the highway, and onto the trail. She’s right. I’ve empowered, enabled, equipped, and supported, the various travels of partners over the years, and often failed to so for my own. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen my sister. I have yet to return to Texas, to visit friends down that way. I’m homesick for Fresno (of all things), a hub around which so many old friends make their lives in California, spread out all over, occasionally returning for some event or another, to catch up, and to reconnect with a small close group from long ago. My visit last year (the year before?) was quite wonderful…

…So… what’ll it be? Where will the journey take me? Where do I want to take myself? It’s an important question worthy of my full attention, but it won’t get that this morning. πŸ™‚ There’s a work day ahead. I can at least take time for a walk over my lunch break, and maybe a moment for meditation. πŸ˜€ That’s enough, today. πŸ˜€

It’s at least a place to start. πŸ˜€

This morning over coffee I watched a clip from a Joe Rogan interview on the topic of “How to Workout” and found myself contemplating the concepts of consistency, intensity, and flow. A worthy start to my day. I pause long enough to send the link to my work email, to share with my team; the concepts easily apply to cognition, and workload management, too. A healthy consistence pace does reliably result, for me, in an enjoyable experience, with better long-term results. πŸ™‚ Applying that everywhere I successfully can totally makes sense – why haven’t I considered this sooner, and more often??

…Why are we so eager to seek fatigue?? Where did we get the idea that working that hard is necessary or even good?

The weekend was filled with flowers, and love. Making a point to enjoy them matters.

I got in a good walk yesterday. (It’s not really a hike, is it, if I am on a comfortably paved suburban trail, no pack, wearing sandals, and just strolling along?) I hit a personal milestone, getting my distance back up nicely, and getting back home without feeling completely wrung out; I felt great! There were so many flowers along the way. It was lovely.

Pause for flowers. (It’s a metaphor.)

The hole in my jaw seems to be healing… I try not to overthink it. Reliably good self-care seems the way to go.

“Consistency”. Something new to contemplate further. It makes so much sense; it is precisely why practicing some simple healthy supportive practices results in incremental change over time. Why I haven’t applied this concept to way more things in life is less important than recognizing this is the case, and making some changes. πŸ™‚ No point wasting time on “troubleshooting” this one; I have choices, choices that result in change, changes that can result in improved quality of life – with potentially reduced intensity of effort day-to-day. πŸ˜€ Easy.

…It’s definitely time to begin again!

I don’t think I actually ever gave thought to how often, or how much, “suction” place a role with regard to the general state of a human mouth. lol Having a molar extracted, and the resulting perforation of my lower facial sinus, with all the requested after-care that follows, is definitely an education in maintaining mindful awareness. The balance between “aware” and “self-conscious” – the latter of which tends to cause more moments of “sucking on my teeth, in some fashion – is, itself, a very new thing to explore (all over again). It generally… um… sucks.

(I’m aware of how dreadful that pun was, and nonetheless I spend five minutes wracked with mirth, trying not to laugh literally out loud, nor to stifle my laughter in any way that might result in disturbing the healing of that tooth socket, with the realization that my situation literally illustrates the point I was making the first place driving still further laughter. What a morning. What the fuck is the point of “uncomfortable merriment”? Why is that even a thing? lol)

Eating is complicated. Drinking is a major challenge. Even sitting around, generally, reading, watching a video, or just being thoughtful, seems to continuously put me at risk of subtly (or less so) “pulling” at that wound in my mouth with some quantity of suction unintentionally. “Rinsing” my mouth requires a rather delicate approach, since any sort of “swishing” technique likely involves – you guessed it already, I bet – suction. It’s not the very firm sucking-suction of deliberately sucking on something (like a straw) that trips me up; it’s the common everyday rather mild suction of things like holding my tongue to the roof of my mouth, or drinking from a container with a small opening, or… swallowing. lol That last one plagues me – it is unavoidable. I’m not bitching, I’m just saying; there are techniques involved that I did not already know.

I woke to rain. I find myself wondering how the Praying Mantis hatchlings are doing. They hatched yesterday, from purchased egg cases that I put in the garden in the spring.

There appear to be hundreds of wee mantises on this one rose bush, basking in the sunshine.

The dense foliage of the reliably well-leaved out rose bush on which I placed them offers a lot of places to hide safely, and with my container garden being very near a forested green space, and birds coming and going at the deck feeder every day, there is plenty of food for the young mantises – and plenty of predators to be concerned with. I spotted them fairly quickly, when I went out to water the garden.

I watched them for awhile.

I watched several quite skillfully avoid a largish, probably quite frustrated, garden spider who had also taken up housekeeping in the rose bush. I was feeling certain that sooner or later, the spider would have her meal, when a young mantis turned the tables on the predator-prey narrative, and began to enjoy her first meal – of spider. Wow, Nature, way to present a life lesson!

I watch awhile longer. Choices. Verbs. Sunshine. Moments.

I felt huge peering down at the wee creatures in my garden. Some of them stared seemingly fearlessly, curiously, back at me. I felt a tickle on my arm, and notice that one, then several more, have jump from the bush to my arm, and my hand, as I held my camera outstretched for a closer shot. I use the opportunity to give them an easy ride, slowly, around the garden. It delighted me to see each jump off to a new location in a hanging basket, potted salad greens, a bucket full of blooming flowers, or another rose. I remind them to watch out for spiders, before I go back inside.

I woke this morning to rain. It only makes sense to wonder how the little new comers are doing. Coffee first, I decided, and here I am – with a drink bottle (selected specifically for the size of the mouth of the bottle) partially filled with cool-not-icy-cold coffee, listening to the rain and the sound of my fingers on the keyboard. I give some thought to where I might take my walk today; it’s the weekend, and I’ve been enjoying being out on the trail again, rain need not slow me down (it’s not rainy hard, just sort of dripping gently). Muddy or slick trails would be less than ideal… maybe along the waterfront? The well-paved trails are popular, so it’s not likely to have the same “away from it all” feel as I might experience on a wilderness trail, or even a suburban forest trail miles in, further along than an easy walk with a child would take one – still a lovely walk, worth taking. The city is reliably a beautiful and varied view.

Some other rainy morning, along the waterfront, and a view of a city I love.

…I keep coming back to this not-excessively-painful-but-definitely-wholly-uncomfortable-and-quite-inconveniently-tender-complicated-to-care-for wound in my mouth; it distracts me. I also find my thoughts returning to the wee newcomers in my garden. I can’t do much about the extracted tooth; the jaw and gum need time and care to heal. I can, however, satisfying my curiosity about the mantises – verbs are required. A moment of action is all that is necessary…

The smell of freshness, summer rain, and petrichor fill my senses when I step out onto the deck. The sound of rain on the big leaf maples is musical. It isn’t raining hard; just a steady misty drizzle, barely hard enough to be explicitly rain. I check “Baby Love”, the rose on which the mantis young found themselves on their very first day, eagerly seeking signs that “the kids are alright”…

Petals have fallen in the rain, but the wee mantis young take the rainy day in stride.

I spot first one, then another, then several, then, as my eye begins to calibrate to their shape and color, their plentiful numbers are revealed. Most have simply stepped around to a convenient underside of a leaf, or even the narrow protection of a stem. A few just stand out in the rain, damp, seeming unconcerned.

They are everywhere I look. A good metaphor for so many things I sometimes struggle to see that are “right in front of me”. πŸ™‚

A few minutes of writing, some coffee, a rainy morning… I’ve been most particularly tempted by this deliciously rainy summer morning… I think I’ll begin again. πŸ™‚

In the garden, or on the trail, it’s a lovely time to embrace this “now” moment. (Your results may vary; there are verbs involved.)

I’m sipping my room temperature coffee (lost a crown, haven’t yet had that repaired), and considering the path I am on, and where it has taken me. I’m thinking about my mother’s death. I’m slowly waking up to a new morning, and a new perspective.

Every ending, also a beginning; the sun shines even on our dark moments.

I went to the farmer’s market yesterday. The blueberries and blackberries are just in, and the strawberries have not yet disappeared. At the grocery store, exceptional tree-ripe apricots up from Dinuba were in. They are delicious this morning, with my coffee. Needing more novelty – and admittedly, also more exercise – I selected a nearby trail I “hadn’t gotten to, yet” – and got to it.

The sunshine was bright and illuminating.

It was only two miles, and spent mostly in my head. The sunshine was warm on my skin.

There were beautiful eye-catching flowers I’ve never noticed before.

The breeze was soft, and heavily scented with flowers.

Sweetpeas bloomed all along the trail, at the edges of the blackberry thicket.

I let my feet carry me forward, enjoying sunshine and movement. Thinking about Mom’s passing, without being fully aware that her service was going on, at that time, but still very much grieving the loss in a personal way. No guilt over not traveling for the service; she’d have understood. I know this, because we had discussed it.

Thimbleberries!

I spot a thicket of ripening thimbleberries along my path. I help myself to just one; they are too fragile for commercial cultivation, and have minimal fruit. The lovely flavor is unique, and I savor it, present, just being for that long sweet moment. I enjoy just the one berry, leaving the rest for the birds, before walking on.

There are wee bunnies in the underbrush all along my walk. Most of them are too fast for me to capture on film.

I return, eventually, to the car, and to home, and enjoy a quiet relaxed day of this-n-that, generally at leisure.

…No headache.

I sit a moment with that awareness; no headache yesterday. No headache this morning. I don’t want to miss this moment. This, too, is worth presence, worth savoring long enough to form a clear recollection, for later.

I enjoyed the walk yesterday more than the walk itself probably rates. I definitely need to be doing more of that. I sip my coffee and consider the morning ahead… I can definitely get a walk in, this morning, too. Maybe no pictures? A walking meditation, perhaps. Along the river? I don’t go up that way often; the wind in my ears, the sparseness of the vegetation, the bare expanse of berm along the path; it’s not much to see besides the long broad ribbon of muddy water, but this morning even that sounds enticing.

I finish my coffee, and start figuring myself out for the day. I find myself recalling bow practice, yesterday, with the crossbow my Traveling Partner got me as a late birthday present. I’ve no idea, really, what inspired him to go that direction – and it was a master-stroke of loving inspiration, as it turns out. We enjoyed the sunshine together for a few moments of target practice, before determining that, ideally, we’d need more room than we have behind the house. I promise myself to keep an eye out for suitable locations as I travel here and there. Still grinning, I settle on a pair of jeans, quietly (randomly) retrieved from the closet, as my partner sleeps. This day won’t live itself!

It’s time to begin… again. πŸ™‚

 

β€œLife should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ~Hunter S. Thompson

…And all the new beginnings that that implies…and perhaps a few more.

I put quite a bit of time, enthusiastic daydreaming, and research, into the trip I planned to take this past weekend. I never did the one thing necessary to bring it to life; I did not begin the journey. I just thought about it. LOL There’s a lesson in there. An allegory. A metaphor. A parable, perhaps. The weekend did not lack of significant XP, however; it was an adventure, a brief journey, and an interesting progression of emotions and events, nonetheless. πŸ™‚

I needed wide open space, and big sky – and found it close to home. There’s a lesson, here, too.

My birthday has been well-celebrated. A new year of life has been kick-started, decisively. There has been feasting, entertainment, the company of friends, and so much love! Errands were run. Housekeeping got done. The garden was cared for. A humble adventure has commenced.

My first orchid. A wee adventure with which to start the year.

It’s been a fast, relaxed, and delightful handful of days, in spite of news of my Mother’s decline. There will be time to process that in full, and there is no need to rush, or to force it down into a dark quiet corner of my heart. It is what it is; we are mortal creatures, and of all the things that will inevitably pass, our brief mortal lives are one of the most challenging to let go of… and then that greater challenging of letting go of those we love. No user’s guide for this one, either. I sometimes feel I am fumbling around in the dark with my emotions. I know that my emotions haven’t killed me yet. πŸ™‚ I’ll get through this, too.

I think about the beautiful broad expanse of meadow, and the scent of wildflowers on the breeze.

I smile, letting the details of the weekend unfold in my recollection. What a lovely time to share with my Traveling Partner.

Life’s pleasures don’t have to be fancy to be enjoyed. Life’s beauty doesn’t have to be costly to be lovely.

I sip my coffee. It’s Monday. I shift gears to “now” and remind myself of the path ahead. The year will continue to unfold. What will July hold? What of September? And the holiday season with my Traveling Partner right here at home? What of the future? And the unanswered questions in life?

Where does this path lead?

It’s time to find out. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚