Lessons from the Trees and Snow.
I went for a hike today. My house sits at the bottom of a beautiful forested hill. Acutally, hill is an understatement-- it's a mountain. My house is at the bottom of the mountain. The area around me is riddled with hiking trails which eight months out of the year I avoid because I am terrified of being eating eaten by a bear. On this particularly Sunday though, seeing as the paths were laden with a coat of fresh snow, I decided to take a few hours for myself in nature.
Almost right away I realized how much I missed it, how much it is almost essential to nourishing our minds and souls. I learn a lesson every time I let myself be in nature. There is so much information about life all around us and yet rarely do we ever seize the opportunity to learn it.
This particular hike, I forgot about how nature can teach us things. But as I came to the crest of a hill and a fork in the road, I had to make a decision. One side of the path was downhill and well-trodden. I knew it well; it was the path I had usually taken. The other side was quite steep and uphill. I had always wanted to take it but talked myself out of it every time. This time, though, it was like my feet made the decision for me and all of a sudden I was traversing up the mountainside, unaware of what would meet me when I reached the top.
When I did, I was faced with another choice. I could go back down towards the familiar path or I could keep going left onto a path which was obviously less worn than the other one. Feeling encouraged, I took the rougher path. This continued; I would keep taking the path less trodden by wandering feet and see where it would take me. Soon, I was deep into the woods. I had no idea where I was. I was unsure of if I should keep going or go back to what was familiar. Once again my feet egged me on but all of a sudden, I came out to the most beautiful clearing I had ever seen.
I was at the top. I unknowingly had made it to the top of the mountain.
The air was crisp and ahead of me I could see endless peaks blanketed in snow. I suddenly felt an immense amount of exhilarating happiness ripple its way down my spine.
It was in that moment, from that experience, that I learned the lesson I will relay to you now:
Life is not simple. That much is known. One might often hear about the road less traveled and promise to themselves they'll take it, but seldom do people really do. On this day I took that road. I took the path not many people walked and I made it to the top. Granted it was a much harder path and it took all of my strength to keep going, but humans have worlds more determination inside of them than they think. Humans are wonderful and capable beings. We can do literally anything we put our minds to., but we always hang on to the familiar because it's easy and we know we can handle it.
I thought back to this past year. It surely hasn't been easy for me. In fact, it has been the hardest year of my life. Not just this year, but my whole life, I have been the one to take a different path from those around me. The result has been hard. Sometimes excruciating. At the end of the day, though, I am an incredibly changed person. I have gained knowledge about life I never thought I would have. I am only twenty-one years old and I realize I have a long way to go but the amount I feel and know already is such a blessing. It's not a coincidence, though. It's the result of doing the hard thing. It's come from thrusting myself out of my comfort zone. It's come from being alone for a long time until suddenly I wasn't anymore.
Nothing good comes easy. We have to make the sacrifices and choices most people wouldn't to get ourselves to the places most people think we won't.
It's not about work ethic or courage or any of that. It's psychological. It's about getting out of our own heads and realizing that life is just exactly what we make it.
And life is beautiful, my friends.
So get out of your own head. Take the path no one takes. See where it leads you.