Here are some buttercups I took a photo of when I was hiking in Kananaskis early this summer. The trouble is that I’m frequently distracted by precious and rare little beauties like these along the trail… I don’t mind, but it’s potentially a bit dangerous, as hiking trails are notoriously uneven, root-riven, and frequently meander along steep mountainsides.
I’m afraid there’s nothing for it; I must stop and look. And touch. Not every exquisite little splash of colour smells as sweet as the wild roses, but there is enjoyment to be found in a moment passed with every single one. I feel like saying to them, in a voice I’d use with a child, “What a pretty girl!”
One thing that so appeals to me about wildflowers is the way they grow and bring bright and lovely colours out of uncultivated, sometimes seemingly barren patches of ground. When I think of all the effort we put into getting just the right soil mix in our gardens, it amazes me what the earth can bring forth all on her own. Spotting these little gems feels to me like finding hidden treasures in treacherous, out-of-the-way places.
This reminds me of these wise words I read several years ago:
“They buried us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.”
It’s funny, isn’t it? Serendipitous. I’m inspired to push up toward the sunlight, through the rocky challenges I face, and bring out the best beauty and sweetness I can, in spite of tough conditions.
Here are some gorgeous ones my son sent me the other day:
How nice it is for us to be able to ‘send flowers’ to someone we love from far away, with no costs or delivery delays…
What is it about hiking in the mountains…? It just feels so good, even when it’s hard trekking uphill. I’m breathing hard, sweating hard, and have to take lots of little breaks along the way. In all honesty, the little moments when I pause to just breathe (read: catch my breath) and look around me might just be the best part.
I’ve never been athletic, and I’m not super fit, so I like going pretty slow and soaking in all the sights and sounds and smells of the mountains. Sometimes a brisk breeze refreshes me and keeps me cool, and then minutes later I’m between a rock face and some fir trees, feeling waves of heat wafting through the scented air.
“Nevermore, however weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day; whatever his fate, stormy or calm, he is rich forever.”
One thing I notice when I’m hiking, especially on a mountain trail, is that I’m mindful of every step. I have to be; there are roots and stones and twists and turns all along the path. It’s the only way to stay vertical. And that’s a gift. Everyone’s heard of the health benefits of mindfulness, and taking a hike in the mountains is one of my favourite ways to enjoy a mindful walk.
I’m fairly sure that at least a part of my sense of euphoria while hiking comes from just being in the woods. Trees have been shown to emit a healing energy, as evidenced by the increasingly popular practice of forest-bathing. I realize the science is pretty compelling here, but with or without the proven metrics, I’m a believer.
It’s a rainy day. I’m not mourning the sunshine. I know it’s still up there, bright as anything- above the clouds. Besides, rainy days make everything outside a bit greener, and I feel like the cool wet weather rejuvenates more than just the local plant life…
I remember in my last year of high school, at the end of hot, muggy days the rain would come pouring down in the dark summer evenings. I’d call up my friend, Rosalind, and we’d meet for long soaking wet walks in the rain. We loved the feeling of getting drenched, but not feeling too cold. It was just such a relief after the heat of the day.
But today I’m accepting this cool, wet weather as little gift from the sky in a different way; time to stay inside and catch up on some things at home. I love being outside, but I also love being at home. I did some yoga (of course) and some extra housework and even sorted out my emails, which I’ve been meaning to do for years. Literally, years.
I have the windows open, so I can hear the rain, and sense the moist fresh air from outside; I think it’s perking up my personal energy levels just by osmosis. Also, there really is something to be said for being cozy on the couch under a blanket while sitting by the windows and watching the raindrops fall outside.