It was 5 o’clock and I’d just completed a long day of work when my friend Beth texted to see if I was interested in going for a walk. It was raining outside. Pouring, actually. And it was getting dark.
As my mind considered a cold, wet hike, my fingers typed, “Yes, let’s do it!” Alrighty then, I said to my better half as I hurried to throw on leggings and a warm sweater before meeting Beth, let’s do it.
When I arrived at our local State Park, there were only a few cars in the lot. I pulled my rain hat down over my ears, zipped up my coat to my chin, and stepped into an adventure.
As Beth and I trudged up slippery hills and plodded through leaf-lined puddles, we talked about our day, our election jitters, and how good it felt to be outside. Time in nature has been my saving grace throughout the pandemic – a daily ritual I rely on to keep me healthy, strong, and sane.
Deep in the woods, with the light nearly gone, Beth and I walked silently for a while, taking in the beauty of the wet world around us. Rain falling through the canopy of leaves overhead offered the perfect soundtrack for our wild meditation. It felt magical and memorable, the kind of experience you know you’ll remember for a long, long time.
As we continued on the last leg of our hike, it became so dark that we could barely see our next step. It was then that I started to feel a little nervous. We still had quite a way to go and I was bone cold and wet. My mind grabbed a hold of my nerves and reminded me that we were two women, in the dark, in the middle of 400 acres. A circumstance worthy of fear.
To combat my anxiety, I slowed my breathing and recalled being in the woods as a young girl. I loved the smell of damp leaves, the search for treasures like pine cones and chestnuts, and the majesty of tree trunks wider than my body. Back then, in the company of neighborhood kids, the woods were exciting, even exhilarating, and we were fearless and carefree in our desire to explore.
Here I was again, years later, with the same young girl in my heart and a friend by my side, on a different kind of adventure. No longer feeling carefree, I was about to comment on my anxiety about the darkness when Beth hit the flashlight on her phone, revealing the path before us.
That’s it, I thought to myself, that’s how you get through the dark. You show up, you bring friends, and you remember to turn on the light.
A little wisdom to hold near this week…❤️