Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Finding Space

On a recent crowded hike at Zion National Park, I felt pushed as people were constantly coming up from behind and we were constantly moving over. Then when we would want to stop and refresh ourselves with water, the slower folks would pass us and then we would again have to pass them. After a while it reminded me of the children’s game of leap-frog which, quite frankly, I never cared for. I was about ready to turn around and head back down to the car - even though I knew we were not far from our intended destination of Upper Emerald Pool. I sent my husband, Dennis, ahead as well as numerous groups, and finally there was a huge gap. I enjoyed my little space of quiet. Seems most people these days jabber constantly while hiking rather than listening to the surrounding natural environment, but I digress. Up ahead I saw a large squirrel enjoying what looked like a dust bath. I didn’t make a sound or move because I wanted the squirrel to finish what it was doing. It rather looked as if it were swimming in the dusty trail. Then a group walked towards the squirrel, I pointed to the squirrel and they stomped by nodding and smiling my way as the squirrel scampered away. As I walked to the area where the squirrel had been, I noticed it cleaning itself off not far from the trail. About that time, my peace and quiet ended abruptly as I saw more groups catching up behind me. The first person passing me was a girl who was about ten years old. I pointed to the squirrel and she slowly walked up, saw the squirrel then shrugged her shoulders and screwed up her face. Then the rest of her family passed me by jibber-jabbering along with many other groups. My idea of hiking is to get out into nature and engage my senses while enjoying the diversity of the area I am visiting, but I digress once again. As I continued up the trail, I wondered why some of the people were even on this hike.

When I arrived at Upper Emerald Pool, everyone was around the pool – playing, resting, or having a bite to eat. I had noticed a rainbow shining in the small waterfall spilling into the pool when I was coming down the path, but when I got closer to the pool there was no longer a rainbow. So not wanting to hang with the crowd, I hiked up and out of the way of everyone else and found a continuous rainbow shining over the waterfall. I was the only one above the pool enjoying this lovely rainbow, but soon Dennis joined me, and of course others began migrating our way - time to head back down the even more crowded trail.

On the way down, we passed a young family trying to make their way up the trail. There was a boy of around 5 and his 4-year-old sister. The boy had started to complain about the hike as we were passing them. I stopped and said, “It’s okay, it’s not so bad. And when it seems like it’s too hard, just remember that there is a rainbow at the end of the trail.” The little girl’s eyes got big and the little boy stopped complaining. Their mom told me I knew just what to say. This encounter made me smile and consider my own thoughts about the hike.

Had I turned around and gone back to the car one of the many times I had considered it, I would not have seen the rainbow at the end of the trail. If I’m not enjoying myself, it is up to me to make the choice to either put up with whatever it is and not allow myself to fuss and fume, or to somehow make the necessary changes that might make the difference in my day. I couldn’t change the fact all of humanity seemed to be on the trail that morning, and that they all seem to be so set on the destination they failed to see what was going on around them. Once I figured out that I just needed some space, I found the space and could move forward and enjoy the rainbow at trails end.

Finding space photo courtesy of DaMClark's