Friday, August 31, 2018

Returning to the Woods

Ravens playing over Stony Man Mountain, Shenandoah National Park

Just over two years ago (Yes, it's really been that long), I made the decision to stop lurking on our local Hike it Baby group and actually go to an event. It was super hard for me, because I am:

1. Awkward as fuck. Those awkward penguin memes that are so popular? I am that penguin.
2. Ludicrously shy. Which makes point #1 even more obvious.
3. A bit armored when it comes to friendships. I've been burned badly and it has been difficult for me to get out of my own way and let people into my life.

But, the local group combined something I had (babies) and something I really missed doing (hiking) but felt too nervous to do with a baby on my own, so I decided to just toss Acorn and my baby carrier in the car and show up for a hike.

It was hands down one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Not only have Acorn and I logged hundreds of miles of adventure time, but it reignited my passion for something I'd missed since leaving the North and my close proximity to the AT. Even during trying times on the trail due to tantrums (the little guy was only about 18 months when we started hiking together), injuries, heat, whatever, I have never regretted getting out into Nature together.

Acorn and I to the right, hiking off the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Returning to the woods has healed me in so many ways. It rekindled my connection to Momma Earth, I am sharing something I love with my son, I met one of my oldest internet friends for a hike up a cliff where we bonded while ravens swooped and played nearby, it literally got me out of my head several times during the long last few months of health trials and answers. The two months that I was too sleep deprived and sick to venture too far from my house felt like forever - I longed to be back out on the trail. To feel the crunch of dirt and rocks under my shoes, to see my son jumping off of every rock and excitedly pointing to bugs, birds, and plants he spotted.

Hitting the trails healed me in another way, too.

It caused me to drop some of my armor and actively welcome some of the women I've met and their families in to my heart. I expected to make some "mom" friends, some "trail" friends when I joined this group, but what I found are some true, close friends who have made my life fuller and helped me get through these trials - the toughest of my life. I never felt like I was "out of sight out of mind" during my time off the trails; there were messages of love, offers to help in all manner of ways, food dropped off, childcare for appointments.

I returned to the woods to find myself again, to share the wonder of this beautiful Earth with my child, and in so doing I found so much more than I had hoped for.

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing how the act of taking a single overwhelming step can open up such magic in our lives, isn't it? Thanks for reminding me of that.