Out of nowhere, today I heard the still, small voice telling me to go for a walk.
This would sound mundane, except I have not been able to really go for a walk in a very long time. My feet are too painful and my legs too weak.
Yet, walking and being in the woods is something my spirit has always craved. Even when I was riding every day, I felt a need to be walking, too. To be even closer to the ground, the earth.
Thus, this summer I have felt doubly-deprived: no riding. No walking or hiking.
For six months, we've lived in a new home and across the road is a forest that I have only gazed upon. I have reflected, briefly, from time to time about how odd that I am right across from this wonderful bunch of woods and rocks, and I can't even go explore over there because I just don't have the "oomph" to do it! Thoughts like that cause wistfulness. Usually, I just don't allow myself to nurture them.
Then, today, I get this old familiar calling. The woods across the road beckoning me, sinful sirens who will only bring pain. And my lifelong instinct won out. I put on my shoes, I put the leash on my dog and I went. It had been so long, it seems, since I've gone for a walk that a sense of the extraordinary was not lost on me.
We picked our way carefully through the dry, low bushes and volcanic rubble, through an old garbage dump that promised future explorations, and happened upon a well-trod deer trail. I've dogged many a deer trail in my day, in probably seven western states. My feet felt strange, though, as always. Neuropathy refused to give sway to pleasures that filled my soul. My soles hurt and they felt numb (I always wonder how something can both be numb and painful at the same time). But there was no way that my spirit was going to give in to something I am so used to. I knew I'd pay the price, but for this moment, it will be worth it.
I had no idea what might lay behind the first few trees that I'd been savoring from my picture window view in my house all these months. What an awe-inspiring surprise! Volcanic outcroppings and cliffs. High-traffic deer trails. No sign of contemporary mankind. Thick stands of tall, red-barked Ponderosa pine. Needle-covered forest floor. Snowberry bushes turning golden with the newly arrived season. All seeming to say: "What took you so long?"
And a dry creek-bed with dehydrated mosses and algae, tumbled rocks and waterlines which foretell of running water next springtime. In the creek bottom, I couldn't hear anything but happy frogs. And wind whistling in the pinetops. No highway noise. Nothing human-made. I sat down in the middle of the trail where a dissecting tree-root made a handy step/resting spot. My dog cuddled up close. And I simply couldn't believe that this treasure is right across the road from my house! I can be here in five minutes. It is, in every way, exactly the right gift for me. Everything about our new home is perfect. My mantra throughout my last few years has been: "God has a plan." And this is such a cool plan for me!
What this means to me? Dear reader, if you found across the road from you, a big stash of money and it was yours for the keeping, then you could imagine how I feel about this incredible find. To think I've been drinking in the views of those roadside trees and not allowing myself to even dream of walking over there, only to find that it has everything I could ever want. More acres to explore, if I can do it. At the least, a five-minute walk with my dog will take me to peace, solitude, the earth and the nature of my very soul. I am blessed. And it is almost too sacred to share.