3 days to myself gives me a lot of time to think. Hiking gives me lots of space to think. The forest hikes here are sublime. The trails (or tracks as they call them here) are sparsely populated. This makes them nice and quiet. Just me, the wind, the birds and the trees. I don’t even have to worry about mosquitos, let alone crocs, snakes, and spiders that will kill me with one bite as in Australia.

Today my thoughts turned to pondering questions such as, where am I going, what am I supposed to be doing, how and WHEN does this all turn out?

As I hit my third trail of the day, particularly enthralled by the exquisite song birds populating the area, it occured to me that most of the trails I’ve taken here I’ve done so without seeing a map of it- Simply seeing a signpost with an arrow in an interesting area and a time estimate for the track would be a good start to something amazing. I did not know where they would take me, whether I’d be going up or down, or how it led back to where I started.
I realized that not knowing these things not only did not take away from the paths’ beauty, it actually made it a bit more interesting. Where am I going? How will this end? What beauty and wonder lies on the path itself?

Halfway through the song bird trail (it was set up by a local birding club), I came upon a bench. Sure that I was alone on the trail, I decided to just lie there for a while- just listening to the three, five, Seven, maybe EIGHT different bird calls. And the wind. And the leaves falling from high up in the canopy all the way to the ground. It was that quiet.

I decided there that I didn’t really need to know the answers to where I am going or how this will turn out. I’ve already learned that life doesn’t always go the way you’ve planned anyway. That paths that start easy can end up being hard or vice versa. And that many times having reached a goal or state of living isn’t as rewarding as one thought, at least not after the initial attaboy of getting there.

What makes life truly enjoyable is not what is at the paths end, but what you notice and appreciate along the way. The unexpected song, the simplicity of a leaf floating upon the air, the sunbeam on your face.
Of course, this is predicated on the basics of a hike- the sun, the earth, the wind, the water of the babbling brook. I currently have the basics in life- the love of my family & friends, my health, a roof over my head, and food in my belly. No matter what else happens, as long as I have these basics, its just a curve on the path or a series a switchbacks, sometimes up and sometimes down. With the basics covered, I can appreciate the wonders of the path itself. As long as I notice the beauties of the path I am on, regardless of which path it is, I am happy.

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