I went for a walk in the ravine behind my house the other night.
It’s my usual walking place, full of criss-cross trails, moss-covered trees, squirrels, song birds and the occasional owl. In it, I have my usual path: along the upper trail, past my favourite tree, down and around the creek and up The 100 Stairs that lead back to modern civilization.
— oh, yes, there really are 100 stairs. I’ve counted each uneven, mismatched one —
But the other night, I switched things up. I went down the stairs to the creek and sat for a while to record the sounds of the water (I must be the only Reiki practitioner who didn’t have “babbling brook” on an instantly accessible playlist). So, there I sat, on a rock at the bottom of a set of stairs and watched while I recorded. I saw the trees reaching the full height of the ravine and beyond, leaves moving in the breeze, water flowing and falling over roots and windfalls, wet stones on the bank with clingy wet leaves and drier stones beside, and the resilient accommodation of the land in conversation with the carving creek bed.
And I saw people – lots of people – out walking and running along the path with The 100 Stairs. And they, without fail or conflict, fell into one of these categories:
- those who came down the stairs, descended into the woods to walk along the ravine floor;
- those who came from the wood to the stairs and, without hesitation, transitioned to the stairs with grace and ease;
- those who came to the bottom of the stairs, paused, looked up, took a resolved breath and carried on up the stairs;
- those who came from the wood to the stairs and, without hesitation, turned around and went back into the wood;
- those who came down the stairs, turned around and went back up. Over and over again.
They all had their paths figured out – in spite of or because of the stairs – and each one of those people had decided how they were going to get where they were going. Maybe they didn’t even know where , exactly, they would end up, but they knew how they wanted to take their walk: 100 stairs. Or not. For this part of their day, they were clear in their intentions, boundaries, and desires. And they walked – or ran – respecting those decisions.
How gracious and connected is that?!
Now, this was a small hour of their day. They’d figured out their routes, perhaps the same one as weeks or months ago, perhaps through some trial and error. And it got me thinking: What would a day look like where you were gracious and connected with each of your motions and decisions?
—my day? light, engaged, heartful. connected. —
What would yours be like?
Story closure: My time at the bottom of the stairs ended with a confused stare from a Beagle who could not, for the life of him, figure out why I was sitting on a rock next to his favourite watering hole. He followed up with a few puppy kisses and, it seems, forgave me for messing with his assumption* that people belong on trails and only dogs get to wander off the beaten path. I then looked at the stairs, and turned around to walk along the ravine floor.
*some guess-work on my part