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  • Katie Newbaum

Hiking and Trusting

I need to move my body but don’t want to go to the gym.  Nature is calling me, and I’m trying to listen to myself lately.  I trust it and set off on my favorite local hike. Within a few feet, this trail is a magical adventure through the forest - a walk rich with ferns and mossy branches and bird calls that lead you under the train tracks and to the water.  There you find a beach of rocks and driftwood that act as benches for families and dreamers. As I walk and listen to my music, I am struck yet again from my surroundings and the fairytale-like quality that emanates from its beauty. Recently I’ve had these waves of abandonment - big swooping ripples of joy, maybe even serenity, that bloom large in my chest overwhelming my heart - and I have to be honest, it’s been scaring the shit out of me. Who am I? I don’t deserve such wealth of spirit - I barely even do yoga! This feeling is meant for more put together people, or nuns.  Surely I need to lose several pounds/make more money/gain more achievements and accolades to deserve such a thing as all this happiness. Obviously, the shitty committee is as loud as ever and I’m battling the gremlins. A truer voice shouts through the din to me about stubborn gladness (thank you Jack Gilbert!) and I try to affirm it, even while fear wreaks its havoc. As I look down to sure my footing on the trail, I see her shadow floating above. I instantly smile at the familiar visit.  I look up and Mom is a yellow and black striped swallowtail today, dancing among the branches, leaves, and sunlight. I keep my eyes on her as long as possible blessing the movement and moment. The wave of emotion is too much to bear, and as I tear up my earbuds ring with Joni Mitchell.  At this point I can’t help but giggle - mom was always just a bit too much - thank goodness.


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