Being in Nature is my therapy. After a long, full week, I ventured over to the Mt. Jumbo trail, as I often do. It’s conveniently located in town, is a good workout, and has an amazing view. I parked at the Poplar St. trailhead and headed up.
The sun was out. It was warm for a late autumn day. I had just enough time to make it to the “L” monument and back down before sunset. The first part is pretty steep, but I’ve been practicing, so I can usually charge up the mountain without stopping…except to take pictures of some amazing views. There are always lots of people on the trail, so it would be more unusual not to see someone than to have multiple exchanges. Often they are brief; sometimes they are magical.
*Wherever I go I bring a gift. I may bring a compliment, a prayer, a trinket, a flower…but I promise I will give something to every person I encounter.*
I stop intentionally to let people pass so that I can offer them a smile and a “Hello”. About halfway up I was coming up on an older man headed down who had stopped to put his sweatshirt on. As I approached…
“How’s your eagle eye?” He shouted to me.
“What’s that?” I thought I misunderstood him.
“How’s your eagle eye?”
“Oh, pretty good, ” I said as I walked up to him, thinking he was going to ask me to look for a needle in a haystack…which is basically what the side of Mt. Jumbo looks like.
He pointed uphill. “Whitetail or Mule deer?”
“Well, I can’t say for sure, but I’d say those are Mule deer. I usually see the whitetail down in the neighborhood.”
“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. The whitetail like the creek down there.”
It felt as if he was giving me a compliment…and yet proud of himself simultaneously. We talked for several minutes like we were old friends. I don’t remember the exact exchange of words, but I felt graced by his wisdom and presence…I felt honored that he had stopped me to ask my expertise, expert or not. Our exchange felt as if we had always known each other, though had just met…kindred spirits for three minutes or less…eternity. We smiled big and deep at each other & bid each other goodnight.
*I promise to be a grateful receiver of the gifts that surround me, pausing often and noticing nature, kindnesses, smiles, and compliments, which I gladly receive with a “Thank You.”*
As I turned away, my heart overflowed; I felt loved; my eyes welled up with tears. My mom, who we lost to suicide two years ago, had always used that phrase “Eagle Eye”. How did he know it? Why did he say it to ME? It didn’t matter. I felt so grateful. I felt so blessed. He was an angel out of time and space.
*I promise to give hope for joy, affluence, kindness, and love, consciously with every encounter, regardless of the brevity.*
I got distracted by the beauty of the rising moon and my overwhelm dispersed. I kept hiking. I got to the “L” monument and kept going past; I knew I couldn’t make it to the top–the sun was sinking–but I wasn’t satisfied yet. Finally I told myself to turn around. Back at the “L” a man was waiting, obviously a runner, an older man. We struck up a conversation. He asked me if I ran. I told him I was a novice, but working to improve my skills. He started giving me all his personal tips:
“Some people say to walk-run-walk-run. I say just run in place. When you need to take a break, just run in place…just don’t ever stop and then your body thinks it should run all the time.”
I received them gladly. “That sounds like a great idea! Makes a lot of sense…then you don’t lose your momentum.”
He shared about an epic run he had done on these mountains. His friend, a blonde-haired woman, who didn’t have a runner’s body type at all, reached the top and confirmed his theories. He praised her on her arrival. They both exuded so much joy. We chatted for a couple minutes and the conversation doubled back around…
“Just don’t stop running.”
“…to keep your momentum. It’s kind of a metaphor for life, huh?” We all paused to think on that. We smiled and bid our goodbyes, and I ran down the mountain. I felt full, so very full, of love from those exchanges. I glowed.
*I promise to give without expectation of reciprocity from the channels I enrich, because I know I am in the dynamic flow of giving and receiving.*