Lately this lesson has been replaying in my head and got me thinking about where I'm looking - planning. Maybe because it’s the first of the year or the fact our 2014 trip planning is underway, I'm not sure, but this subject has been taunting me for a few weeks.
It's no real secret, I’m not great at planning. Katy and Debbie ROCK it, me, not so much. I love they have this skill and honestly, I’m ok with not being great at it. Not planning doesn’t typically stress me out. I feel like I go with the flow pretty easily and things have worked out ok without a solid plan so far so why this nagging feeling now?
The answer, or maybe it’s better to say “an answer” or maybe better yet to say “an idea to an answer” came while hiking at Emma Long dog park. The trail zig zags across Turkey Creek then loops back on itself for a total of almost 3 mile round trip hike. For most of the year, the creek is pretty dry and there are also very good concrete crossing stones. Due to recent rains and flooding, the creek is full flowing. (Side note: "full flowing" for this creek is still pretty low, maybe 8" deep - it's not the Mississippi or anything.) The “very good crossing stones” have been washed away and replaced with tenuous, at best, rock crossings created by previous hikers. They're not considered extremely difficult but take some finesse with balance to navigate and not get wet. Advice if you go - being the second person across has the advantage of watching which rocks are wobbly while the first person crossed ;-) At the halfway point, where the trail starts the turn of the loop back, begins a steeper rock outcropped hill which, at least for me, gets the heart and lungs pumping by the top. Then there is a lesser incline, but still sort of steep, to get to the top. The foliage on top is so different than the bottom and there’s usually a slight breeze which feels really good at this point. Pretty soon the trail begins to descend and meets with itself for the final ¾ mile back to the car. Not surprising navigating the crossings on the return tend to me more challenging, for me anyway. My legs are little rubbery and I don’t feel as energetic or balanced as on the way in.
Approaching the first crossing, as I went to step on the very first rock, I became conscious of what I had done before each previous crossing. Basically, on the way in, each time a crossing was coming up, I would survey it carefully, analyze the rock placement for crossing and made a decision on how I would get across. Not just the first step but each step, all the way across, including the exit of the last rock onto the muddy, and sometimes slippery, slope of the continuing trail.
Now, as I stood on that first rock, realizing I didn’t have my plan this time, it became pretty clear why a plan was important. Because the first step down to the rock was steep and I was focusing only on that first particular rock, I had less flexibility. I couldn’t go back because there wasn’t room to turn around and, let’s just be blunt here, I am in no way flexible enough to backward up step the way I just came down. But going forward was no picnic either. I had unwittingly selected a path to go along without assessing it and let me just say clearly, it was, NOT the steadiest, NOT the safest, did NOT have the best exit to the trail and most importantly, most likely NOT the driest ;-)
I did made it across with minimal moisture and ta dah - it hit me ....
For the most part my life has been charmed, I’m in a good place, healthy, have an incredibly wonderful family, supportive friends, loving pets and tremendous opportunities. OK I didn’t get here completely by accident. There was hard work and flexibility and recognition of and accepting opportunities as they came. But now, at this point in my life, maybe more planning is called for. For my future, for my well being, for my happiness. Maybe for my fulfillment.
I’m not sure why I’m feeling such a strong nudge (like a horse gently pushing on my back with his head) towards this and it’ll be very interesting to see how different my year goes or if anyone else notices a change in me but I’m planning a series of plans in my near future!
P.S. the picture does not do it justice - it's slippery, and sometimes the rocks are far apart, and the water is cold, ok? :-)