Every day tragedy strikes all around our planet. Often times, we are not personally affected by tragedy. But, it happens too often that we, or somebody we know, is affected. Loss of a loved one, a friend, a confidant. Loss of trust. Loss of faith. Every day we deal with a myriad of issues and concerns and fears. Every day we do our best to provide our children and those around us with happiness, light, and love. But, sometimes the darkness creeps in on us and takes over our lives. It consumes us. Sometimes the losses, the tragedies, the anguish, hurt, and fear that we have to endure seems overpowering and terrifying. How can we ever be normal again? How can we raise children in a world filled with so much fear? The answer I have found is to find the light in life. For me, that light is found within the embrace of Mother Nature.
After suffering a miscarriage I felt the darkness taking over. I felt that fear was beginning to control my life. It was rewriting who I was and what I was capable of. I didn’t want to let that fear, the fear of losing everybody close to me, rule my life. So, I stepped outside. I felt the sunshine, the rain, the snow, whatever Mother Nature was throwing at me, I felt it. I let that fill me up. I watched birds soar, deer graze, and squirrels dart. I heard the wind in the trees, felt the patter of rain on my hood, and smelled the scent of winter creeping in. I found a quote that became my mantra as I was hiking my way back to happiness, back to the light. “Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, whatever is done and suffered by her creatures. All scars she heals, whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts.” -John Muir
It is remarkable how healing a walk on a trail can be. The still, quiet air of a forest listens and hears all my fears and sorrows. It takes the burden of them off of my shoulders. People often ask why I love hiking so much. Why is it such a huge part of my life? For me, it’s the simple fact that I found myself in the wilderness. I entered wilderness for the first time when I was a confused 19 year old girl. I didn’t know who I was or where I was going in life. Seven days of solitude, in the quiet of the woods I found the answers. I listened to my heart in a way I never had before, in a way I didn’t know existed. Going to the wilderness rejuvenates my spirit in a way that nothing else can. When we lead busy lives with family, children, jobs, friends, pets, and so much else depending on us it can often feel like we’re drowning. In the quiet of the wilderness you can take some much needed time to quiet your mind and listen and feel and be aware of yourself. Mother Nature gives us the amazing gift of being the best listener and friend.
Wilderness isn’t always easy to access. It can be a challenge to find the quiet needed to truly hear your heart. But, walking in a neighborhood with friends, with children, or with family presents it’s own unique healing qualities. The laughter and chatter of friends can be a welcome distraction. The conversations that occur while hiking are often deeply rooted within us and I have found myself speaking more openly to hiking companions on a trail then I ever would elsewhere. Watching a child explore and discover is a truly magical experience. It reminds you of the hope and wonder that envelops a child.
Finding a path back to happiness and light isn’t always easy. There are often bumps along the way, raging rivers to cross, turbulent weather patterns to make your way through but the journey is a huge part of the process. In the journey you will learn new things, discover new strengths and weaknesses, and find who in your life will help you on your way.
When tragedy strikes near your heart, remember that you aren’t alone. Remember that others have walked the same or similar path. Remember that with time will come new perspective, understanding, and grace. Remember not to let the darkness win. Remember that happiness, light, and love are worth the effort.