Awakening.

I am really not sure how to write this post, so I am just going to dive right in.

For more than a year now, I have been participating in the #52HikeChallenge.  Today I completed Hike 51 (I am almost done!  Once completed, I will be writing a reflection on my experience so stay tuned for that post.  Anywho, now for a reflection on today’s hike).

For this morning’s hike, I went to the Nebraska/South Dakota border, just a few minutes outside of Vermillion, to an overlook called Mulberry Bend.

I like this hike because it is less than a 20 minute drive away, and the trail is just under a mile long, so I can do it even on the busiest of days.  Because of the ease, convenience, and simplicity of this trail, it’s never stuck out to me as anything special.  This morning, however, I saw this trail through fresh eyes.

I was almost back to the overlook from the trail when I spotted a patch of color on a tree off to my right.  It was the first trace of Fall that I’ve seen this season.  I love Fall.  The changing colors are beautiful, and vastly different with every season, every patch of trees.  The leaves change every year, and then drop off, dead.  It’s truly amazing.  This cycle of life shows its presence each year, and yet I find myself falling in love with October again and again.  What’s not to be in awe of?

I was stopped in the middle of the trail.  In awe.  Staring at the leaves.

It’s beautiful.  That’s why I fall in love year after year.  How can one ignore beauty?  You just can’t.  But then I thought about how soon these leaves will fall, turn ugly brown, and decay into the Earth.  I was thinking to myself how sad it was that this beauty only lasts a short period of time.  Why is it that this amazing season of year is so short?  It is overshadowed by this dark and cold time that seems to last FOREVER.  Why?

That’s when it hit me.  For leaves, beauty is in death.  Not life.

Leaves go silently.  They simply live their life hidden in plain sight, showing their true beauty only for a short period of time, and then they drop off.  They fall to the Earth and are covered in a blanket of cold for the next few months.

There it was.  Another sign of Mike’s legacy.  Mike was an autumn leaf.  He lived a short life of simplicity.  Full of life, adventure, and love, he showed his beauty to the world for a short 24 years.  Then one day, his time came.  He dropped off, and gave himself back to the Earth.

This post, is not meant to be sad.  Nor is it even about Mike.  This post is about life, nature, beauty, and simplicity, and how in a single moment I was reminded of each of these things.

I guess what I am trying to say is that in one moment I felt more spiritually alive and well than I have in a very long time.

As you’ve read in recent posts, wellbeing is something that I am trying to incorporate into my daily life.  In this moment, I felt deeply spiritually well.  I felt connected to nature, God, Mike, and my new environment.  I haven’t felt something like this since moving to South Dakota.

I long for adventure, and simplicity.  I miss the way I felt when I was hiking along the shore of Lake Superior.  I underestimated the connection that I have with water.  I underestimated the power of the outdoors.  I never knew how spiritually awake I was simply being in the company of nature.

This revelation from this morning has been on my mind all day.  Moving forward, I seek to live with a spirit of adventure and mindfulness, allowing moments like this to awaken my soul.

Sending peace, love, and positive vibes

–Joel

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Such a small patch of leaves on this tree left such a big impact on my day

 

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