receipt scribble

things found in my bag on busted up crinkled pieces of scratch paper and receipts

Friday, May 23, 2014

middle way

Life is constantly presenting me with metaphors for itself.
Today, a beautiful, not-too-hot spring day, also happens to be my day off, so I thought I'd venture on a hike. I have new-to-me hiking shoes I needed to break in, and I'm in desperate need of some exercise, so off I went.

The hike started out so lovely. I fell out of my body into my senses, my eyes overwhelmed with color from wildflowers all shapes and smiles. My face tickled with a breeze and ears the sound of a breaking twigs and crunching gravel with each step. Organic air soothed my breath. It was at such an incline that my heart thumping in my chest was at once soothing and rhythmic. breath. beat. breath. beat. My mind's volume turned down to a quiet hum.
Blissful. Thoughtless. meditative. Alive.

Then... about a quarter of a mile from the top I almost stepped on a snake. My heart flew out of my chest. I'm not a huge fan of snakes. I'm not terrified, but after seeing this one, I recalled all of the signs warning of rattlesnakes on the way up that I quite cheerfully ignored. "I am alive and it is lovely, don't bother me with that stuff." I don't know what kind of snake it was that I saw, but I wasn't really trying to stick around to find out. Now. I'm scared. Each step, my eyes glued devoutly to the space of ground only about 5 feet ahead. I am vigilant. On guard. Anxious. Completely in my head. I keep pausing to scan the stretch of path in front of me. I end up not making it too the top, but instead conclude that the longer I am out on this hike, the more of a chance I'll be bitten by a rattlesnake. I've already seen one today, right? This canyon is probably teeming with them. I all of a sudden hate hiking. I'm thirsty and hot.

It was hiking down the path about 15 minutes like that, completely miserable, that I realized the metaphor.
Sometimes in life we get caught up in our bodies. Pleasure. Beauty. Whatever it is that makes us feel nice... completely oblivious to the dangers life offers. Whether its danger to our mental health, spiritual, physical... and sometimes we decide to blatantly ignore warning signs.
And here is the flipside, my friends. Sometimes we are too vigilant. Too watchful, that we miss all of it. The wildflowers, the breeze. Every step we take being only motivated by fear.
Not to sound cliché, but somehow, we have to find the middle way.