Hiking has become a huge passion of mine. I began hiking many years ago with my friend Cynthia who lives in Arizona. My hikes were basically limited to the time I spent there but it became a regular part of my visits. I was hooked, the juxtaposition of the bustling city on one side and the zen of the mountains and beauty of nature on the other. The feeling of accomplishment and peace when I sat atop a mountain and looked upon my surroundings was overwhelming. I was especially drawn to sunrise and sunset hikes. The glory of the sun, a sky rich with color, fading to black setting to rest my concerns or a darkened morning coming alive with a golden glow and the promise of a new day….
I dabbled in hiking a little bit in NJ, a Groupon hike with my sister and a few friends that brought us into the Bronx to hike in Harriman.. There was a dark blue banged up van with no windows…scary to say the least, but we survived and the reward was magnificent. The trek through the woods energizing and somewhat challenging, my physical condition at the time needed some improvement. The view of the valley was amazing. I felt this sense of excitement and peace intertwined and I thought I really need to do this more often, perhaps with less drama. There were a few more hikes, most included in my sister, and some sense of uh oh, but they were always fun and so began the embers burning deep inside.
During the past 2 years, when our choices were limited, hiking became a saving grace. I joined several hiking pages and randomly just showed up at planned events. I have made some amazing new friends and I am consumed with climbing and reaching new heights. I love the challenge, I crave the view, I relish in the peace that is achieved when I reached that summit. I am able to open my heart and clear my mind to allow my faith to wash over me. It opens the path to heal any hurts in my soul. I rebuild my strength and resolve.
As I hiked, I began to notice hearts, mostly rocks, but leaves and moss and clouds as well. Now they appear to me everywhere, always… but I have to remember to look for them.
Hiking in NJ is very different than hiking in AZ. Terrain, textures, colors, trees vs cactus, waterfalls vs barren deserts… In both places there is potential for a “drab” hike to happen… recently I experienced that canvas on both coasts. I set out on the planned hike, I looked around and was underwhelmed.
I took a moment, cleared out my mind of preconceived notions, I looked down and within moments, my first heart appeared. With it came a new lens as the forest and the desert changed before my very eyes. Where I saw brown (in both places), hints of gold and green appeared, then a splash of purple or orange and red. Where I saw, broken branches, majestic trees and cacti were intriguing artwork. Where I saw pebbles and stones and boulders, more and more hearts appeared.
Life is often what we make of it. Two people can look at the same thing and walk away with entirely different opinions and impressions. Through my lens, I choose to see the good and search for the beauty, I am not going to lie, sometimes it is very hard work, but the reward is great… what do you see?