Expecting To Fly

The statues were left behind in Columbus; the road west brought wonder with unexpected delight. The leaves turn again in Erie.

Expectations are quite dangerous to the individual. The promise of the future often clouds the present and leads to mistakes. The night back in June when I and another hiked out of the backcountry was one such example. In a blind drive to rendezvous out to a patrol cabin with the Great American Walkabouters, I failed to inventory the supply of my journey. The prevailing thinking was an evening of conversation and possible song. It was going to be so great, I thought. By the time we came across the Walkabouters, we had made a decision to return. The exact reason no longer matters, but could have been easily avoided if I had maintained a calm mind of living in the present.

With haste, we trudged back the way we came and the only thought was making it back before darkness fell when the beasts would have an advantage over us. Of course there was fear, especially when I took a shortcut off the trail and it became dark before we met it again from the sagebrush covered knolls. There were many bear sightings on this trail and bison were known to frequent the area as well as the occasional sneaky mountain lion. I did not know it at the time, but there was a reason for this ridiculous situation. That day had been full of signs that something was coming. In pitch black we balanced caution and speed toward the trailhead to meet our brave escort. There were sounds of branches snapping in the distance and not certain whether it was wind or beast, we continued forward up the steep face shouting enough to distinguish us as human and not an easy meal.

Many of us do not practice resilience until backed into a corner. If it were easy to live on a daily basis with such purpose and drive, then we would have little worry over problems and take each adverse condition as a challenge to better ourselves. The ability for us to focus on our memories of the past that were good instead of dwelling upon mistakes and regret is a quality that must be nurtured. Mistakes are made, deal with them, and work to minimize them in the future. What more can be said about that? Do not allow mistakes to follow you into the future by avoiding the consequences. Instead of BEWARE OF THE BEAR, you need to BE BEAR AWARE. Our understanding of the present is what gives us the ability to learn from the past while cognizant of a future that is out of our control. There is so much that we cannot avoid in the days to come.

I’ve heard people mention time and time again the temporary nature of happiness and the unlikelihood of experiencing repeating past glories. I chose to check it out. A decision was made, the ducks were quickly put into a row, and off again to see if it would happen again, that wonder and delight. And great it was, but was that enough? Expecting to fly, I fell hard to the ground. What would happen next was anyone’s guess, but this time listening to others and accepting a new way seemed to make perfect sense. Relief comes quickly after letting go of the old ideas and practices that caused so much grief. There were signs that at the time were either ignored or not understood. Looking back, the hike through the darkness, the close encounters, and many other moments, were opportunities to really learn and change for the better to avoid a repeat of the same mistakes. The fact that it took a few more mistakes, some grave, does not mean the lessons of the past are not as significant. They are all experiences and if you don’t believe they happened for a reason, then give them a reason. Make that reason an improved quality that will serve you in the future. Be aware in the future, be aware in the present, be aware of the past.

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