In fully taking advantage of my holiday time off from my 9 to 5, the other day I went for a solo hike at Big Basin, a redwood forest only several miles from Silicon Valley. Every time I visit Big Basin, I am struck by the presence of a divinely beautiful forest located only a short drive from the center of the technological world.
Solo hikes are a great way to meditate on the move, so to speak. Being completely alone on the trails in a heavily wooded forest (save for the occasional fellow hiker to say ‘hello’ to) provides me the time to think about nothing but the beauty that surrounds me. As I started my hike, I stopped for a moment to breathe in the cool, damp, mossy air, filling my lungs completely with it. I took a moment to just look up, and look in, thankful for how fortunate I am to be in this place, at this time. I took the time to be enveloped in the silence that only a forest can bring.
Along my hike, I paid particular notice to the enormous redwoods all around. Oftentimes grouped in threes or fours, these mammoth trees form cathedrals that simply take your breath away. Standing in one such redwood cathedral, looking up to the heavens to which they seemed to touch, I thought about everything these trees had seen in their hundreds-year old lives. From a small sapling, they had experienced the warm California sun, enjoyed a stunning view over the Pacific Ocean, endured torrential rains and hurricane force winds, and still, they stand, majestic and divine and more beautiful than words can describe.
These trees whisper their tales of endurance and perseverance, and they are all the more magnificent because of it. They were created not only to endure, but to thrive.
Much like these resplendent gifts of nature, humankind is also created to grow in beauty and strength. Each storm, much like each sun-kissed day, is designed to not only fortify us, but to remind us of our gloriousness. If we take the time to really see ourselves, and those around us, focusing not only on the triumphs but also the struggles, we will be awestruck by radiance and beauty much like we are awestruck by the redwoods in the forest.