Today as I finished the last part of my run on the usual trail, my eyes momentarily strayed upwards from the worn path before me.
The sight of an elegant cypress tree, standing between a rugged oak and a group of sassy olives, caught my attention. I had never noticed this group of trees before, despite the countless times I have run this path over the years.
Happy to pause in the welcoming shade of these green giants, my eyes blinked away the sunlight filtering in through the leaves and I admired the trees and their heartfelt communing–how they intermingled their branches and gently brushed each other with fluttering leaves.
I have run this trail for too many years to count, through many stages of my life—birthdays, first jobs, career changes, marriage, kids, losses, victories, good times, bad times, you name it.
I have come to this trail with a heavy heart, during uncertain times, when I needed to get away from it all. I have come to this trail with hope and excitement, when I was training to become a firefighter, while I was pregnant, when I longed to see beauty in nature, when I needed to be kissed by the sun.
I have come to this trail with the baby in the stroller, when I sought to run out my frustrations, when I needed the listening ear of a friend, when I wanted to celebrate the joy in my heart. This trail has seen it all.
Funny, how this trail is always the same, yet always different. Or maybe, it’s me….
Same Path, New Eyes
Today as my eyes made their way from the swaying treetops to the path before me, I saw the trail as if with newly opened eyes. I marveled at the dirt path beneath my feet.
Shadowed patterns of leaves and branches decorated the ground. The filtered sunlight created dotted accents of light, along with the reflected water ripples from the nearby creek. They all danced on the path in front of me. The everyday trail was completely transformed. The entire path had become a brilliant mosaic of shadows and light.
As I began my slow and thoughtful walk back on the mosaic trail, I wondered about the shadows and the light. As I walked, I noticed I could focus intently on any part of the path I wanted. I could feel the chill in some of the heavily shaded parts of the path. I could feel the comforting warmth in the sunlit areas.
My mind continued to wander, as I mused on the shadows and light. I am often reminded in my job on the fire truck that there is much suffering and heartache in the world. Bad stuff happens. We get sick, we lose a loved one, we lose our home to unforgiving flames, and we may feel hopeless and powerless. Sometimes we are deep in the shadows. I often wonder how people navigate through these dark times.
The Big Picture
As I continued to follow the enchanted path before me, I took in the whole picture. The beauty of the whole path—the shadows and the light–was overwhelmingly apparent to me in this moment. Yes, from this broader perspective, the whole trail was a beautiful display in its contrasting entirety.
My mind flashed again to all the many events in my own life. My own life path, with all of its ups and downs, looked like its own unique and splendid mosaic from this higher perspective. The whole path is magnificent, I realized. I was reminded of the clear-sighted hawk who sees the vast panorama as he soars high above, or the astronaut who sees the swirling beauty of the entire planet from outer space.
We are all at various points on our individual paths. And we can choose to focus on any part of the path we want to. But let us remember, while we are on our journeys, to pull back our perspective once in a while, no matter where we are. Because it truly is the whole path, with both the shadows and the light, that is so darned beautiful.
Will today be the day you choose to pull back to a broader perspective?
Let us soar high above our limited visibility to catch a glimpse of the bigger picture!
The path before you may suddenly look like a grand and beautiful mosaic.