This afternoon, I wrapped up chores and wedding invitation addressing and headed out for a hike down to the beach. We live in such a sweet little location where I can walk ten minutes and get to a trailhead that leads down through the woods and the trees, past a fruit orchard, along Piper's Creek, and then hits a beautiful beach and the shore of Puget Sound. I packed a little day pack with cheese and crackers, a Nalgene, my phone (for taking photos), a book to finish, a journal and a towel. I laced up my trail runners and headed out.
It felt super nice to be walking in the woods. It was a hit day, reaching 80 degrees in Western Washington and to be bathing in the coolness of the forest felt refreshing and served as a catalyst for taking deep breaths and sighs along the way. I used to walk our dog Ginger along the path often for a couple years. It was our favorite weekend walk and it would be just the two of us girls. Today, as I walked in the trees, I realized how much being in nature totally and completely nourishes me.
When I was young, we would go to church on Sundays or even Saturday nights sometimes and there was something about Catholic mass that would make me feel all good and clean for the week ahead. The walk today made me feel that way, like I was starting the week with a clean slate. Growing up in New England, I did a lot if hiking and I loved it. I loved the linear style- a beginning and an end. You either make it or you don't. Of course, as you get older, you realize life isn't so linear. Just because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line doesn't mean that a line is the best way to get there. Life can take you on a detour of sorts, pulling you out of the flow every now and then, usually for learnings.
As I got down to the beach and setup my little rest area, I looked around at all the joy happening right there in front of me. Joy, joy, joy! Children playing in the water, people exploring the sand and tidal pools, laughter and beer drinking among couples and groups of friends. This is what summer is. Pure joy. I was thinking about how much of a pleasant experience this exact moment was. How all is perfectly aligned and then poof! The moment is gone and new moment comes. Then poof! Again!
So as I walked back home from the beach, back up through the woods, past the creek and orchard, I was attuned to the present because, well, that's all we have.