Hiking Adventures, Photography

Where I Learned to Soothe My Soul

IMG_0725I’ve been privileged enough to get to travel to a few places.  Not nearly as many as I want to, but hopefully, there’s still plenty of time for such things.  One thing I have discovered though, is that I am blessed in where I live.  Nestled right between rivers, lakes, and mountains.  (I’m serious, they’re practically on all sides of me.)  And one of the most perfect places on earth is only a hop, skip, and a jump away.


Up there, on top of that mountain, overlooking the valley and it’s raging river; life’s problems just don’t seem quite so big.  Nothing does from up there actually, everything is quite small.  All you can hear is the river.  From certain spots, you can watch the hawks and an occasional eagle swoop down among the tree line in search of their next meal.



This is a place where the ugliness of world hasn’t yet reached.  It’s serene, blissful, and can absolutely just chase away every bit of the noise and static that tends to build up in one’s mind and soul over time.  I go there often, to empty myself of it all.  And each time something familiar I suddenly see in an unfamiliar way.  Something new speaks me to, for this mountain as old as it is, is still forever changing and teaching us to do the same.







img_7552Over the weekend, the wind really blew. I’m talking a feel the house shake kind of blowing. It’s spring, it’s to be expected really. Now living in a rural area full of trees, power outages and wind storms go hand in hand. It’s seldom avoidable.

What I didn’t realize until this morning however was that we have had not one but two wind events recently and both times somehow, I’ve managed to escape without loss of power. That’s a pretty spectacular thing really. The lights never even dimmed. Someone did some amazing work clearing right of way areas for the power company.

I also noticed something else. I’m so quick to sigh, utter, and even groan when the power does go out. “How long will I be inconvenienced by this unforeseeable problem, is almost always the first thing I desire to know. I never give any real thought to much else, such as, how long will someone else be pulled away from their family to repair it? Or, is the situation a dangerous situation for the person going to fix it? And honestly, it’s part of their job, they knew or at least likely now know, the expectations and risks involved… (I’m rather certain this should never diminish concern, but sadly that outlook in this self-absorbed world exists.)

My biggest take away from this morning, however, was that I took the existence of my power for granted. I gave no thought to possibility of loss (although I should have conceivably, as I said, not uncommon). I also gave no thought to keeping it. I just expected it to stay on. I depend on it, I pay my bill, so it should be there just because that’s the way it works.

For whatever reason, my mind doesn’t stop there… No, it continues to process and ponder. (A real curse at bedtimes most often, truly.) I don’t just take my power for granted. I take my life for granted as well. I also take the people in it for granted. Not intentionally, but I just assume that from one moment to the next, it and they will both still be there. I fail to truly and sincerely appreciate whom and what I’m surrounded by every day. 

How often do we look at a sunrise and then again at a sunset fully expecting that next day we will be given the opportunity to see them both again? How often do we walk out of the front doors of our homes saying a quick goodbye to our loved ones, because we know the departure is brief in nature? How often do we walk away in anger, leaving harsh words in our wake, unconcerned with the impact made or even considering that could possibly be the last words ever uttered?

The sincere truth of matter is, we give no real consideration to the footprints we leave behind in a number of other’s lives. We tend to think the opportunity to leave new footprints will be there, tomorrow or the day after. The reality of the matter,however, is that the only opportunity you are guaranteed to have is the one you have right now in the immediate moment. That’s it, just the one.  

Now, think about the footprints you’ve already left… What if those are the only footprints you ever get the chance leave? Did they come from a place of kindness and love? Did they make an impression, or were they easily erased? Or worse yet, did they leave ugly marks rather than beautiful impressions?  

The choices we make each and every day have a ripple effect. Not only in our own lives but also in the lives of others. Our actions, our words, and our lack of can cause an impact in ways we may never know. When we live our lives taking for granted that there will always be another opportunity, we lose. We lose moments, relationships, and the chance to breathe love and kindness into our own lives as well as the lives of others.

Even on my worst days, something good is there. It’s super easy to focus on what is missing or isn’t going the way it should, but in doing that, I’m not fully appreciating what is there and what is going incredibly right. This happens most often, because we took whatever it was that is gone for granted, it’s that simple. We relied on its existence to the point that we failed to take notice of and appreciate what was there when we had it.

One thing I’m learning so much truth about in own life right now is that what your mind feeds on, your soul is feasting on as well. And it needs to be feasting on the things that are life giving. The things that reassure you that this life is worth living and done so with utter appreciation for each and every moment that you have left to breathe. That starts with learning to be grateful for even the simplest of things such as power on a windy day. Or more importantly, the beautiful souls that intersect your path from day to day. Just think of the difference it would make not only in our own lives, but in the lives of each person that we connected to every day if we were living from a place of appreciation rather than expectation.