I know I said I wouldn’t write about gratitude, but sometimes I just can’t help it. I was walking in the woods near my house the other day and I was too overwhelmed by the goodness of life not to share. Really, it is not so much The Woods as just a series of wooded trails around a nature center. But, until that day I had never been there alone because I have this ridiculous, irrational fear (are there any other kind really?) of walking alone anywhere that isn’t a paved city street, sidewalk, or beach. I am a nature-chicken.
This place I went probably can’t even be called nature because I’m sure if you looked hard enough you’d see the parking lot from any angle. Still, no matter how short the grass is on the path, the surrounding trees scare the poop out of me. I’m convinced I’ll wander in and never find my way out. Unless there is a road or an ocean to guide my steps, I panic.
It was with some trepidation that I went on that walk last week. A friend had taken the pooch there the day before and I felt like if he’d been once, who was I to deny him again? Off we ventured and you know what happened? Turns out, I did get completely turned around, but I managed not to panic, ultimately found my car, and maybe even enjoyed myself along the way.
So, what am I grateful for after getting lost in the woods? Here’s what I came up with:
- The boy who took me on my first walk in the woods. With him I saw that me, a self-proclaimed boardwalk girl could find peace in the mountains. Nature-lover and city-girl can indeed peacefully co-exist in my soul.
- The woman, 20 years later, who dragged me back to walk in the woods. Not only did she remind me how much I loved it, she pushed me to believe I could come back on my own without getting catastrophically lost. Her serenity was contagious enough to push me back into the trees.
- Sniffer-dogs who aren’t satisfied with walks on a sidewalk because they crave more, which means someone has to get out of their own stupid fear and venture out into places that make dogs happy. Because forget moms, when dogs are happy, the whole house is happy.
Mostly what I am grateful for all the people (and pets) through the years who have seen in me more than I could ever see in myself. It is those same people who took the time to push me to eventually see it all in myself too. I have been incredibly fortunate throughout my life to be surrounded by people who gently force me to grow. I am a better person because of each of them.
For that, it’s worth saying out loud that I am grateful even if everybody else is doing it too.
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