The path led to a creek quietly wandering through a stand of old growth conifers. Birds chirped and warbled as they flitted through filtered light and shadows, filling the air with their symphony. A stump on the bank invited me to sit and watch the water tumble over a pile of rocks and become a pool before continuing on its way to the river. A hummingbird hovered near the waterfall where a sunbeam turned its feathers into an iridescent display of natural beauty. By staying quiet and becoming one with the forest I was treated to a variety of creatures stopping by for a drink.
All care slipped away and my insides calmed while I sat. The outside world never touches such magical places. The more I looked, the more I saw. The textures of moss and lichen. Flowers peeking from behind fallen branches and rocks. Grass waving in the hint of breeze. A snail inching its way to an unknown destination. A raccoon digging for grubs in an old half-rotted log. Ants marching in both directions from a piece of fruit dropped by a previous visitor.
I didn’t want to leave but knew I had to. Appointments and responsibilities were unavoidable. Back to life in the big city and its noisy progression. Before rising, I breathed in deeply and inhaled every bit of serenity I could. I stretched my arms in an all-encompassing gesture, then drew them towards my body to scoop beauty into my soul. As I stood to leave, I walked to the bank before kneeling and touching my lips to the water. A gentle kiss like I’d seen the hummingbird do. I splashed some on my face and shivered from its coldness. It was ice before sunlight caressed the glacier’s face.
As I slowly walked back to the trailhead, I adsorbed every detail so the memories would go deep in my memory bank and be there for viewing should the world and its woes threaten my peace. I wanted the joy I felt to be transmitted into the air around me so everyone could share my wealth. I was rich with understanding at that moment. Understanding how tiny we are in a universe with billions of stars. How trivial our issues are juxtaposed to wonder and glory. How every breath we take shouldn’t be taken for granted. Understanding the passage of time and its effect on every living thing. Though my body won’t survive that finite journey, my soul will. One last look back down the path, then wave goodbye to the trees.