Simple Gifts

I believe I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world; the Snoqualmie Valley. I get to see amazing things everyday. It's time to celebrate that. (You can view pictures in larger format by clicking on them)

Friday, October 13, 2006

A reason to return to Meadowbrook

I went to Meadowbrook/Snoqualmie Valley Trail again. How many times have I been there? How many times have I blogged about it? I'm not really sure. It was a magical night. I remember a sermon my rabbi gave years ago. He talked about how people are always looking for something new. A new place to go; a new adventure to follow. How we will sometimes view a routine with disdain. He went on to talk about the depth of experience you can gain by knowing something deeply and intimately.

I think the reason that sermon struck me so strongly is because it speaks deeply to my life. I often feel guilt that I'm not being a "real hiker". I'm usually sticking close to home and going to familiar, easily accessible places. I tell myself I need to get motivated and get out there, and yet I know the wonder of the familiar.

As I drive down the road towards Meadowbrook I'm filled with anticipation. I start scanning the field looking for the elk. I know they are often there. These are "my" elk. When I get to the marsh I look and listen for the red-wing blackbirds. I know it's spring when I hear their song. When I take the little side trail towards the river, I look for the eagle. I will never forget that moment the eagle circled over my head. I may never see an eagle in that place again but that place is full of meaning for me. Familiarity gives you a chance for a rich relationship. Memories create connections that reminds us of who we are and what's important.

Tonight was one of those moments were the connections and beauty lift my spirit. The Fall colors and sunset were beautiful. Familiarity meant that I didn't have to rush ahead worrying there was something better that I might miss. I watched the sunset over the swamp. I listened to the dipper sing it's beautiful, liquid song by the river. As I turned around the mist was collecting in the field with Mt Si darkening behind. Then as the night and fog deepened I heard the elk bugling. It's an experience I wish everyone could have and the only word I find is "Magic".

I think I'm finding an acceptance for myself I didn't realize I needed. I've carried these expectations, some imposed by others and some imposed by myself. The idea that I need to be a "real" hiker and a "real" naturalist. I doubt I will hike any great distance on the Pacific Crest Trail or climb a mountain. I doubt I travel the world or even the country in a search for exotic animals. I don't need to load up my pack to experience the natural world. I may go months without taking a "real" hike. Yet, I'm connected to something magical each time I walk or pick up my camera. That sense of wonder and awe I carry with me is something I wish everyone could experience.


Blogger Alan said...

Intereseting how differently I respond to the trail, especially as shown in the first picture, which is so obviously an old railroad right-of-way.

For me, this is a test of my ability to accept change: how much do I regret the loss of this railroad, and how much am I able to enjoy the trail that has taken its place.

When trains still ran there, I didn't take the time to visit, I preferred to allocate my limited railfan time to the busier Great Northern and Northern Pacific main lines, where one could be assured of seeing trains.

Now that the trains are gone from this place forever, I have been several times, and consider it one of my favorite places. Go figure.

Nice post.

8:31 AM  

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