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Archive for the ‘Joy of the Journey’ Category

Capturing the essence of an afternoon outing is a tricky endeavor. Particularly if that outing is a hike where roots, rocks and other obstacles underfoot must be carefully navigated. I find that a balance must be struck between looking down at the trail to carefully place each step, looking up ahead at where I’m headed, and looking all around to take in as much of the surroundings as possible.

A couple weeks back my “family” (Me, the hubs and our two four-legged kids, Denali and King) set out to hike the local trails at Bear Creek and do just that…

…Take it all in: Bear Creek, the beautiful day, nature, each other, the sights, sounds, smells…to revel in the anticipation/the future, the here and now of each moment/the present, and the delights of each memory of pleasant moments gone by/the past.

Evan drove.

While the dogs and I sat back, relaxed and watched the world go by.

Well, I sat back. Really the dogs sat forward with their wet noses stuck out the window, tongues flapping in the wind and fur waving in the breeze.

Here’s some of that anticipation I spoke about…because isn’t that half of it, the excitement of fun times ahead?

We’re here!

And we’re off.

Much to my husband’s dismay, I snapped a shot of Denali doing his thang! It is just too cute to resist. He marks “his” foliage with such purpose!

Hydration!

And more hydration!

I managed to fall behind quite a few times to take in some of the small treasures on the side of the trail. As small and insignificant as it may be, the sun striking this fern had to have been one of my favorite things that I encountered. I think my joy in experiencing it with such appreciation and gratitude truly shows through my lens here in this image.

Perhaps the essence of this moment was captured best because I was more fully invested in it compared to all the other snapped moments.

Although the hike itself was absolutely wonderful in it’s own right, there is something to be said for coming to the end of the trail and breathing in the satisfaction of completion and accomplishment…taking in the “feel-good” endorphins, and reveling in the welcomed fatigue that comes with any endeavor that delightfully taxes your mind, body, and spirit.

Case in point:

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This past weekend I accepted an invitation to a friend’s beach condo in Wildwood, NJ.

After having just lost my job and wildly shaking up the stability of my marriage, the reality I’ve been creating around myself has been nothing short of rocky. This creation is mine. All mine. The thoughts, words, and actions that have led me to this point have shaped the here and now, this present moment where I am sitting. Typing away. Musing on a brand-spankin’ new blog at the eve of a new beginning.

Meanwhile, there was no shortage of things I thought I should be doing instead of indulging in a mini-vacation. Certainly I should have declined the invitation. I should have stayed home and punished myself with menial housework, grueling exercise, worry, guilt, shame. I should have started straightaway to revamp my resume, write cover letters, and furiously job hunt. I should have found alternative health insurance. I should have picked up a few serving shifts…

Instead I accepted. I accepted the invitation. I accepted my present circumstances. I accepted that for a couple of days I could choose to put the shoulds on hold. I could choose to accept the invitation out of necessity, rather than indulgence. I could choose to work on other aspects of my reality that often take the back burner–nurturing friendships, playing, laughing, singing dancing…and I did. We did.

We hula hooped in the park AND at the bar. We screamed at the top of our lungs on the roller coaster. We sprinted to the ocean and boogy-boarded on the waves. We played soccer in the sand and games on the dining room table. We lounged on the beach, swam in the pool, relaxed in the hot tub, and napped in the afternoon….

Yesterday, my friends and I biked along the boardwalk. It was such a new concept for me to be on a bike solely built for cruising, for sightseeing, for pleasure. For me, bikes have really only ever been a tool for building strength, muscle and character…for racing and competing. I had to ask of myself to let go of these old limitations and experience new joy. I had to accept that there was no other purpose of this bike ride other than to enjoy the mere act of cruising around and taking in the sights and sounds. There was no stopwatch or competitor or finish line. There was simply a beautiful day and companionship to be had. There was no destination.

On our way home after finishing up our bike ride,  a friend and I took a detour to the gardens at the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse. Normally, autopilot would have had me stroll on by to reach my destination back at the condo. By deviating from our intended destination’s path briefly to visit the garden I encountered a brave butterfly. He allowed me to take all the time I needed to adjust my camera settings and take many shots of him at various angles as he danced a mere foot from my lens and even tickled my face several times with his delicate wings.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The weekend wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. I missed a few patches on my leg with the sunblock and ended up with a crazy patchwork sunburn on my right leg and I got shit on by a seagull at the beach…that is about it though in the “cons” category. My butt crack also made an appearance at the pool as I jumped for a show of acrobatics and gravity took its course with my over-sized bottoms. That was arguably a good thing if you asked the person on the receiving end of my show. And come to think of it, I was told that a bird pooping on you is a sign of good luck.

Well bring on the good luck. I’ll go with that!

I will take that good luck to help me find my way along a new career path, a healthier and happier marriage and more good times with friends.

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