“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” ~John Muir
Hitting the trails with a friend or my beloved tops my list of favorite ways to connect with another human being. Perhaps it’s the winding trail, the dappled light on my shoulders, the halo of gnats and/or mosquitoes circling my head, or the rhythmic thud of another set of feet (besides my own) that tips the scales toward complete and total happiness.
Josh and I decided to take the dogs with us on a hike which criss-crossed over a mountain stream for about eight miles and even included two small waterfalls. They waded into the water with each crossing and would lay in the stream with tails wagging. Dogs are the animal kingdom’s most cheerful opportunists.
So often, conversations with a spouse/friend revolve around finances, chores, household projects, vehicle maintenance, careers, coworkers, relationships, and many of the unpleasant aspects of life. There’s simply no room for those items on the hiking agenda. Instead, we found ourselves telling stories from our childhood, laughing at our goofy dogs, stopping to point out a wildflower or interesting mushroom, or walking in comfortable silence.
The “comfortable silence” is my favorite part. Comfortable silences are not simply a lull in the conversation or when neither person can think of something to say, but rather a magical moment in which both parties are completely relaxed, tuned-in to their surroundings, and there is no need for words.
Isn’t this rock formation interesting? Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park calls it the Wolf’s Den. There are coyotes here but no wolves. I’d consider it a misnomer except that “Wolf’s Den” has a much better ring to it than “Coyote’s Den.”
Of course, Josh and Logan had to explore.
Cascade Falls is right next to the Wolf’s Den. The falls are quite small but so is the park (it’s Georgia’s largest state park, by the way). Logan swam excited circles in the pool below the falls while I snapped a few pictures before we continued our walk.
“How can you explain that you need to know that the trees are still there, and the hills and the sky? Anyone knows they are. How can you say it is time your pulse responded to another rhythm, the rhythm of the day and the season instead of the hour and the minute? No, you cannot explain. So you walk.” ~ Author unknown, from New York Times editorial, “The Walk,” 25 October 1967
And walk we did.