Today I took a hike.
Older Daughter and I drove to a state park and walked a few trails. We saw an enormous deer trotting away in slow motion, barely making any sound even though the ground was thick with dried leaves. We saw impossibly small berries still clinging to ashy grey branches, stirring with the slightest of breezes, as red as sun-struck church windows. We saw spongy neon green moss wrapped along tree roots like blankets tucking in for the winter. We saw bare white birch trees arching up and up against a sky so blue it was impossible to stop looking at it while breathing in the beautiful crisp fall air.
It was perfect, even when I fell. I landed on my hip and my wrist, but I didn’t wreck the camera or my phone or my sunglasses. Later I found out my leg was bleeding, but thankfully I have a prepared traveling companion who calmly assembled the neosporin and the correct-sized bandaid, applied both in a very businesslike way, and was done in less than a minute. No kiss for my boo-boo, though, so maybe not totally perfect.
But it was a necessary and welcome balm, because I realized no matter how much my world may be turning backwards I would always have this. The absolute beauty and centering of nature, the quietness of thought and observation, and the chance to remember that though I am but one, I am at least one and I can do many things.
Tomorrow we shall feast, way too much food for just four people, and watch movies and football and parades and remember how much family means to us. We will remember there’s never a lack of hope or a path to take, and that we will never be alone.
I am thankful.