Out among the summits that day, I was reminded how adventuring is not just about the endless vistas, nor only about the brilliant sunrises and sunbeams we see out there for example, as wonderfully amazing that they always seem to be. So many times we also sense certain kinds of beginnings, those previously unknown ways and means for seeing, in developing formative perceptions about all of what we experience in so many new ways as well.
This is what was unfolding that hiking day out with close friends, to the headwaters of a great river, near an ancient glacier, and right by the immense waterfall that shares in the stories within all that mountain history. What eventually manifests on such adventures we can never really predict. One of the many reasons we go, as I'm sure we all sense, is the seeking of such inspiration out there - the hope for discovery of new things, different ways to see, and for even more meaningful ways to be.
This is reflects the phenomenon of the epiphany.
That nexus of awareness and effort, energy and adversity, attitude and perspective, connection and projection, all within our past, present, and future. This all allows the elements to blend, and then unfold, in so many kinds of amazing revelations.
Three such epiphanies were gifted to me that hiking day.
First was an energetic youth, whom we saw moving along the trail up ahead. His gait was uneven, almost as if he was unsure. But that was not the case at all, for he was hiking with a prosthetic leg, yet more surely than many we have met out there. His pace, his intention, that smile, and determination, all shared so much about discovery.
Then later, was an elder. A woman out with her family, who surprised us when we were to catch up. Her energy was endless, her enthusiasm contagious. I asked as politely as I could of her son how old she was. "Seventy eight", he said so proudly, "and she's not slowing down at all". There again was that wonderful appearance, of both perception and inspiration, hiking out ahead of us, so gracefully amidst that later time of life and yet in this wild place too.
Finally, most profoundly, at the far portion of our hike, near the base of that very high waterfall, was another of that adventure days epiphanies hiking slowly towards us. I had been gathering up old rocks that would surely later have a bit of paint splashed upon them. Through the mist surrounding me, I looked up to see one of my friends talking with a couple. The gentleman looked about my age, but it was his face that caught my eye. He looked tired in a different way, yet a smile and happy gestures were there as well. When approaching them, as I needed to place the stones I had gathered up in my pack over by my friend, I was then able to listen in a bit to the conversation. "What a wonderful waterfall", they were saying, and "a gorgeous trail we've hiked over", they were sharing about too. I don't know how the topic then came up, but as we do chat about so much with others out on the trail, then this person shared about what this day out there meant to him. His cancer had recently returned. There would be no treatments this time around, he said, while decisions now needed to be made, and hiking this whole trail this day was one of these.
The mist on my face hid the tears in my eyes as I listened quietly to the rest of his story. Then later with a wave and a smile, they carried on and I waved back, then watched them hike on further.
I am sure you all share in the same revelations that came to mind right then my friends.
Three epiphanies appeared, and were gifted us that long adventure day, and we will not ever forget them..... DSD