I love my Saturday morning hikes out to the ranch. I not only get to work off the few pounds I’ve likely gained during the week, I also enjoy quiet time with my “maker” taking in the sights and sounds of perfect beauty. No time limit, and I always come back energized both physically and spiritually.
It was crisp and sunny when I left the house, and I cranked up an upbeat Cowboy Junkies tune on the ipod. What could be better? But just before I rounded the corner leading to the ranch, I noticed a chill in the air and dense fog rolling in. Jogger guy barreled by me, scaring the lovely family of deer in the small clearing entering the ranch. And — oh great — the ground was damp and muddy— I’d have to trudge through it, and navigate around the trees that lay horizontal in the path in front of me — victims of the last brutal storm. This’ll be fun.
I write little essays in my head during these walks. What could all of it mean, I pondered, on the way to my “quiet spot.” “I’m pretty much in a fog most of my waking hours?” Nah. Lame. True, but lame. Just walk, Kirsten. And turn off the damn ipod. It’s still God’s country even though I’m in thick fog and can’t see ten feet in front of me.
Made my way to a bench I like to sit on that overlooks the ocean. No ocean in sight today but the sound of the surf coming in loud in clear. Sitting for a long time reflecting on the usual things: Love and loss. Then my brain was told to shut up by my higher power and I experienced all that was around me at high intensity. The sounds of waves crashing, birds chirping, and something scuttling in the pine tree next to me. The smell of sea air mingled with pine scent from said tree. After a while, the taste of my tears. And am I delusional or did I feel the comforting touch of someone holding me in his arms? I’d been to this spot hundreds of times, but never before had I experienced the loveliness around me in such depth or with such reverence.
All of this and no ocean view. “Damn you’re good,” I said to God. He replied, “I was blocking what you normally focus on so you could experience these other things more fully.” “Oh, duh,” I said. Hence the theme of my essay. (No, it’s not “oh duh.”)
I’ll call it the Ray Charles factor. We all know Ray was an extraordinarily talented musician who experienced and performed his music with unusual depth. Being blind, he developed a capacity to react to his world through sound rather than sight; and the result was, of course, off-the-charts brilliant. Maybe that’s the way it is with my own personal losses. (Stay with me here.) I want things to be like they were before — when I clowned around with my little bro or had a good heart-to-heart with Dad. When my marriage seemed like it was perfect. Yeah, sad those days are over. But because they’ve been blocked from my view, might I be more able to more fully experience all of the other wonderful blessings God has bestowed on me? Or even notice them? I think yes. Not to mention the great stuff just around the corner I don’t even know about yet.
Who knew that in the middle dense fog I could come to such a revelation? Duh.