Each day right now bears some similarities, and also many differences.
As I drive out to the next trailhead there is a certain level of anxiety encroaching.
That’s the similarity.
But it’s not my anxiety. It belongs to others.
The difference is, I will be in yet another amazing place hiking in just a few short miles. And it will be completely different from the path I walked just a few miles in the opposite direction – so many biomes. So much diversity.
As my mind passively drifts to Nature’s beauty that awaits, the driver behind me gets dangerously close to my rear bumper. In fact, I’ve joked that I need some type of pop-up sign to spring forth from the rear hatch inviting them park their vehicle in the back of my car. 😊
He backs off, then charges. Repeatedly.
Had he only looked at the speed limit. Had he only looked ahead, down the road, where Mama Elk was crossing with her calf. Had he only looked at the cars in front of me. Had he only noticed the sign that a passing lane was only half a mile down the road.
No, I haven’t figured out how to exceed the laws of physics and drive my car miraculously through the car in front of me so the driver behind me may move faster.
Faster to get nowhere.
Nor do I care to mow down an innocent Elk calf to appease his nonsense.
What’s the purpose of this ego-charged, obnoxious display? I can only guess. But he finally does pass, at 20 miles or so above the speed limit, flooring it, flipping me off. And he jockeys wildly in and out of lanes, landing in front of three cars ahead of me by putting every driver, including the oncoming ones, at grave risk.
And for what purpose?
There is only one road that passes here between points A and B. And it’s no surprise when I pull up next to the very same guy at the stop light in the next town ten miles down the road. No gain in time or distance, only the spread of hostility. Of anger and discontent, stemming from an over-inflated sense of self-importance. That his time and place is more important than anyone else’s. Their safety be damned! Get out of his way!
But I shouldn’t judge.
I have no idea what demons he struggles with. And I certainly shouldn’t allow his negativity to affect my day.
No, I’ll be standing among eighty-five-foot tall trees. Ponderosa and Lodgepole pine. Douglas fir. Red Alder, Hemlock, and Big Leaf Maple. Western Juniper. Grand Fir.
The Standing People.
It is said by the First Nations’ people that we humans used to know how to talk to the plants and the animals. But genocide, both physical and cultural, prevented these traditional practices from being passed on. Over time, and societal evolution, we destroyed or forgot those languages. Much to our detriment.
So as I leave modernity behind, and return to the real world, I wait. Patiently. In the middle of the forest.
And I ask. What is the lesson you can give me today? I can feel their vibrations. Their overwhelming presence. Watch them sway in the breeze. Bending but not giving way. The answer is obvious.
Patience and Tolerance.
What drives (pun intended) those anxious folks has nothing to do with you or anyone else. Those are their issues, and theirs alone. They own them. Can’t get trapped in their energy fields. Or let them ruin the peace and serenity of your day. Your life.
In fact, the more we detach from other’s negative inputs, and the more positive energy we spread, the better for all.
While it’s easy to say I could have reached this conclusion without the consultation in Nature, it is so much simpler when you’re in a quiet and beautiful place. And it’s demonstrated so overpoweringly.
You have to be a little observant and have a bit of respect for your elders. These trees, many of them, are over a hundred years old. They might just know a little something about living. About life in general. About how we’re all interconnected. How we all breathe the same air. Absorb nutrients from the soil. Drink from the seas.
And how we can see, hear, and feel each other.
And yes, share wisdom.
Photo: Standing in the real world.