August 2 Rattlesnake Point to Kelso Conservation 11 km
I have been there, maybe you know that place too. The lake that you walk into and it feels like it is gradual and gently sloped sand leading into the water and it seems lovely and I await the cool feel of the water. Then comes the step – the shocking one that I do not anticipate as I wade in. When I drop off and am submerged in murky water over my head. The climb back up is almost impossible and you reach your hand up over your head hoping someone will see it and grab onto it to pull you out. Suddenly I feel it, the light touch of a hand then it firmly grasps my hand and I can begin the climb out. Sometimes it does not feel like falling off into murky water sometimes the mountain trail is very narrow with barely enough room for both of my feet. I shuffle along cautiously and one foot slips and before I can stop the momentum I am falling off the edge with one hand outstretched reaching for something, anything, someone. Just one hand stretching as far as humanly possible until it feels the touch of a hand and the gentle sound of a voice without panic “hold on” and I do until I feel stable and like I am no longer falling to the bottom of the mountain. At first the trail was a chance to challenge myself, a chance to walk with a friend in nature. I wanted to finish a section and earn my “badge” of completion. It was about finishing, at least at first. At a point in time I cannot pinpoint, it turned into walking a path of friendship in conversation, in silence and sometimes silliness. It was no longer about finishing the trail. It was about the journey and the walk, the encouragement and that hand reaching out when I am falling to pull me out of the murky water or up from tumbling off the edge of the mountain. It was about this now because I realized I have been there so many times when I just needed a hand, someone who was not family to believe in me and my abilities- someone who would stretch out a hand and not laugh at misfortune. Someone who would give me a moment of falling before stretching out a hand so that I could feel how good it is to be pulled up or pulled out. I have come to realize, that if I never fall of the mountain or slip off the edge of the soft sand and become submerged- if I do not do that from time to time, I may never appreciate the spectacular things that wait for me or the simple things that wait for me in each moment. I cannot appreciate the light as much if I have never walked in darkness. I do know that emerging from that murky water, leaving darkness or climbing back up the mountain are the most triumphant times in my life that create beautiful memories that stay etched on my heart.