As we made our way down the snowy path I heard him mutter “ferfuckssake” while our teen boys were scampering like puppies just ahead. He saw what we were walking into: a windy descent down the tree lined mountain side. He clearly understood and was annoyed at the science of what goes down, must come back up. A smile spread across my face as I reveled in my chosen ignorance.  It was late in the afternoon on our 3rd day in Yosemite, rightfully dubbed “The Crown Jewel” of US National Parks. We had traversed a small fraction of its vast terrain in the previous days, and were in search of the Gandalf of the trees, a beloved Sequoia.  

Exactly 1 mile down we made contact with the giant sage. It was softer than it appeared, and she dwarfed us into hobbit- sized creatures. There was a majesty surrounding her that drew us each in.  To stand in her presence was to feel both insignificant and awestruck. 

We returned to the path, and began walking directly back uphill. Each of us traveled in silence, alone with our thoughts. The smile I wore down stayed as I marched fervently back up. I munched on snow for much needed hydration as I sweat through each layer of clothing. At the top, I squealed with delight while returning to the car holding my worn out people.

As I reflect on this hike I am reminded of many things. First, life holds a multitude of journeys, and varied hikers who travel them. Some paths feel easy, light, and downhill. While others feel heavy, exhausting, and uphill. Second, some hikers are logical and like to know what they are getting into. Others prefer to remain unenlightened about what lies ahead. More importantly, no matter the voyage or the traveler upon its path, my wish is that all are able to experience the gift of wonder every now and again. Above all, this hike reminded me that while I may feel insignificant at times I am never alone. And to never underestimate the power of soft, and gentle wisdom.

So, when life feels hard and your view of the world is a narrow sloping path, please look up and open your perspective. When you do this you will be able to find the gift of Wonder not too far off in the distance. Head in that direction.

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