When the World is Kind and Good

En Route to New Mexico’s highest spot: Wheeler Peak
Thanksgiving Day: Top of Wheeler Peak

Date line: Taos New Mexico. Thanksgiving Day. There are only a few days in America in which the world shuts down. We get relative peace for about 24 hours. Even many eager retailers have changed their “sell, sell, sell” mode. However, black Friday pinged into many phones at typical velocity, even on Thanksgiving.

We took to the trails and determined that 60 degrees at 8K, would be about 35 degrees at nearly 14K and that hiking over some packed snow would make the usual unforgiving rocks more tame. Thus, cooperating with the planet being at peace for only a few hours.

Long hikes offer time to think, ponder, contemplate and take in Mother Nature. And there is something about taking one step at a time that reminds us that we will eventually arrive at the destination and that time spent on an epic mountain is time very well spent.

We are middle-aged. We take it slow. We remember our lessons from our Kilimanjaro guides “Pole, pole” slowly, slowly.

Long hikes mirror the arc of life. Have a plan. Know where you want to go. Be well prepared. Bring plenty of water. Pack snacks and layers of clothing. But be ready for both the good and the challenging that pop on the path.

Because they both do.

You will meet some great folks out there. Those who would have never encountered in “regular life.” You will also meet some jerks and wonder why any individual needs to be nasty on such a gorgeous day. On the most peaceful day of the year.

It is a day not to worry, but to explore.

You will encounter the high hard ones. A bit of nature and breathtaking views.

I was raised to worry. And as much as I loved my grandmother, she was a hand-wringer. Maybe rightly slow, she lived through the great depression in the hard hit place of West Virginia. She lived through the Second World War where her husband had to leave the family to be in Europe. She saw the twin towers come down and called each of her traveling grandchildren on the phone to check in.

She loved us and worried about us in equal measure.

Maybe hand-wringing was in order.

Yet at some point along my own journey, I determined that they things in which I worried most about were not those that ever happened. What hit me broadside were those instances that I could have never imagined.

At least for me, hand wringing over what I knew was a futile exercise.

And so I hike.

Not that I do not worry about my grown daughters. And yes, I expect to “hear” from them (and it can be snap chat or text because “no one talks on the phone anymore.”) As a mom I have the visceral need to know that they are safe, warm — and happy — you know the simple, yet elusive things.

While on the trail, we know that there is still lots in peril, but we have one goal ahead. And it comes with slow walking, fast breathing, wide eyes and legs moving. We also know that what ever we left below us will most likely be where we left it. And that we have little control except about what is right ahead or right behind us. And maybe not even that.

It is easy to go negative. But lets not.

Trying to be one with John Lennon;

“Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy of you try. No hell below us. Above us only sky. Imagine all the people. Living for today…”

Eating apple crisp,