So to celebrate a rather significant birthday, I took a trip to California. I had fun, I worked, and I took some time to pay attention.
I visited relatives, including my cousins new baby twins and my 95-year-old Grandmother, my parents and my daughter.
And I hiked in Yosemite National Park with my daughter. We share a love of the outdoors, of beauty. We even went snowshoeing, a first for me. Tromping through the snow was a crazy-tough workout, but the woods were so beautiful, and the view at the end of the trail from Dewey Point was so amazing, it was totally worth it.
As typically happens when I am in wild natural settings, I see things more clearly. Not just because the mountain air is clean and crisp, but because the distractions that normally surround me simply aren’t there. I see, and I hear. As the old hymn says, “All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.” The woods, particularly, are a place where I feel safe, happy and close to God.
Two key points of clarity emerged from my time in northern California.
One: I am the kind of gal who needs to be outdoors, who sees and hears God in the wild beauty of creation. To stay close to God, I need to get out into creation, to feel the snow crunch under my boots or the sand between my toes. I need to restore by soul by taking to the woods every once in a while.
Two: I traveled with my laptop, and even though I took time for hiking and visiting, I also filed a story from my hotel room one day, and managed an online community I’m building from a Starbucks another day. And I enjoyed it. I get to work with great people who are doing significant work, and that is an amazing privilege. I have a job that I can do just about anywhere, and I am really grateful for it. I need to express that gratitude and lean into the blessing of it everyday, whether I’m in a Starbucks in Half Moon Bay or in the spare bedroom of our suburban Chicago home.
Both of these realizations came from taking time to listen to my life. To notice where I feel God, and where I don’t. To live with gratitude for the beauty and the work, because both bring me into the presence of God.
Where do you notice God? Where do you hear his voice? When you listen to your life, what do you hear about you, about God, and about how the two of you connect?
Half Moon Bay is just down the coast from where I grew up in Pacifica, Keri. and I still go down that way for a bite to eat. Just drove through it last month as a matter of fact. And you hiked Yosemite? Man, I wish my wife and I could have joined you; it’s beautiful this time of year.
“I need to restore by soul by taking to the woods every once in a while.”
Oh yes — this describes me too, Keri.
I’m grateful to Tim for introducing me to your blog. I look forward to reading more of your work. He gives you high praise indeed. 🙂
Adriana, welcome and thanks for leaving a comment. Glad we have our “nature pathway” in common.
It was great. We snowshoed the 1.5 mile trail out to Dewey Point–and my 18-year-old marathon running daughter doesn’t slow down for me! The next day, we wandered Mariposa Grove, ate a lunch we’d packed sitting on rocks under the towering sequoias. Loved it. Next time I’m in northern CA I will look you guys up. I found out that my cousin Brian Wyatt and his wife Jennifer know you–he’d been nominated for a judgeship this year.
I just looked him up, Keri. He doesn’t look familiar, but then again it has been a few years since I covered the probate assignment at the courthouse. You say he applied for a judgeship? I would imagine it is for the Sacramento bench if that’s the county he lives in. We’re just across the river, though.
Here’s a coincidence, though. On Sunday my wife and I are getting together with Lesley Sebek Miller and her husband and their toddler (never met them before). Her husband’s a Sacramento attorney too. Small world.
Happy Birthday! I’m guessing 50 – which means we are close in age. I, too, am a nature person. Grew up boating on the ocean and bays and love the scenic beauty of NE PA. My mind clears better when I’m outside walking enjoying God’s creation and all the birds and animals. Today, I noticed a red-tail hawk pair back (they leave for the winter) this gave me hope that our weather will be changing soon and Spring will soon arrive. My older son “gets” God more at his summer camp.