A Stroll to Myself

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I drive. When I need to think, pray, worry, or cry… I drive. 

Today I drove. Not because anything was wrong. I just needed to get out of my element and into nature. I was going to go to my regular haunts but for some reason today I kept driving.  I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t have a plan. I was just driving. Just going. Just escaping. 

I drove on a scenic highway. I drove out of my county into the next county. I drove further and further, higher and higher in elevation. I would stop and various places to take photos when something would catch my eye. I would back up, throw my car to the side of the road, climb out investigate what I saw, take the shot and go on. 

I for some reason took both my cameras with me today. I have the one I currently use, one of those with all the bells and whistles. Then I took my “old” camera. The one that started me on my photography journey. It was good for me to shoot with the old camera again. It reminded me how hard I had to work to get the shot I wanted. It was a little more difficult for me. I had to really think more about it with the old camera. It is a great camera. It was just that I had gotten comfortable with the new one and now the “easier” of the two seemed harder.  I remember when I got the new one, how scared I was of the change. Luckily, there was someone by my side to help me learn all the bells and whistles. Today, My mind kept saying look through the eye piece, which that camera didn’t have. I couldn’t make any adjustments like I do with the new one, it did the “thinking for me” and when I came home and looked at the photos…. it thought wrong. It was good for me to return to basics, it reminded me how far I have come in my photography.

Once, I had walked a good way from my car and a  man stopped and asked me if I was okay. I told him that I was. He then saw my camera and said “Now I see what you are doing. Have fun and be safe!!” I thanked him for stopping and continued on. 

I continued to drive, thinking, planning, praying, trying to decide on some things I am pondering about and listening to the same CD over and over, the choice of the day Luke Bryan.  At one point I stopped for lunch. I took my sandwich and proceeded to park myself on the ground. There were picnic tables close by but I wanted to feel the Earth beneath me. After lunch, I got back into the car and drove what would be the last leg of my journey to my destination. I was in no hurry. I do not have a curfew. There was no one waiting with bated breath for my return. Most people didn’t know I was any where out of the ordinary and no one knew exactly where I was.

When I pulled into the parking area, I knew I was in the right place. I could feel it in my soul. I stop the car and grab one of my cameras and proceed to set out on foot. I hike some of the most beautiful area on the planet. I would almost say The Garden of Eden couldn’t have been more beautiful. I walked and look and saw everything I could take in. I hiked for about 20 minutes at a leisurely pace. At that point I came to this bridge. It was precarious looking to say the least. In Chapter One of my life, I would have been done there. In Chapter One of my life, I would not have been there in the first place. 

In Chapter 2 of my life, I was there. Willingly, I was there. I could have turned around at anytime. I didn’t. In Chapter 2 of my life, there wasn’t any thought about if I was going to go across that bridge. There was only enough hesitation to take a picture with my cell phone and a photo with my camera. There is a difference. I crossed the bridge. 

After crossing the bridge, I have to go down steep, craggy rocks. They were part of the designated trail. After getting past the rock which had a small stream running beside it, I heard it. There was one of the most amazing sounds someone who loves water could ever see. A beautiful water fall. I have never seen a waterfall like this. I tried to take photos of it but couldn’t do it justice.

I stood there for a good bit of time and just enjoyed the falls. Then I started the return trip. I saw millipedes, butterflies, birds and deer. I studied light and shadow, color and texture. I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

My body got the exercise it needed. My creativity got the stimulation it needed. My soul got fed from being in the glorious beauty of nature itself. My whole person was being nourished.  I came out hot, tired, dirty, sweaty and stinky but I couldn’t have been any more content. 

Looking back at this trip after being home for a few hours, I can look back and see how far I have come on the journey of life. I am amazed when I look back over the past three years. I have done so many things, been so much braver than I ever thought I could be. To quote the old Virginia Slims commercial… “You’ve come a long way Baby”!!

On my return trip home, I stopped by to see my parents. My dad and I were sitting in the living room. He said he needed to mow his yard but he was too tired. I asked if he wanted me to mow for him. He said No. I said I can do it. He looked me dead in the eye and with as much honesty I have ever heard he said “Well I know you can. You can do anything you set your mind to do!!!”.

If he only knew how far I had been that day. The lessons I had learned, the self acceptance and realization I had this very day, he’s right. I CAN do anything I set my mind to do!!  

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