Not too long ago, my husband said he would watch the girls so I could take the dog on a walk on a local trail on Mount Sentinel. I procrastinated because it was a little cold and I was feeling a little lazy. But I did, and I’m so glad.
Before kids, I would hike up the mountain several times a week perhaps hiking for 2 – 4 hours. Maybe I’d make a loop and head towards the “M” Trail or some days I’d just go up and down. There was one thing I always enjoyed looking at on the way up the hill. Oh, this is going to sound strange because surround by such natural beauty and what am I looking at. Chairs. Weird, eh?
There was just something about them. Something in the colors against the monotone and muted, tall- grass on the hill. I often wish I could sit in them and watch the sunset over Missoula and the Blue Mountains late on a warm summer day. I also suppose I just like the way they looked. And every time I passed I thought, I really need to bring my camera next time. Yes, next time.
But that was another lifetime ago and much has changed. I don’t get the chance to hike much anymore even though sadly we live less than 1 mile to the trailhead. Then, last year when I hiked up the mountain the chairs were GONE.
I was pretty upset. Not really because of their absence, but because I never took any photos. I was upset at myself because after years of thinking about it, I waited too long. And the opportunity was forever gone.
I’m not one to procrastinate much, but I do, probably much like the average person. I had to wonder how many other opportunities I’ve put off. What other areas in my life do I just assume I can do later? Plenty of course. I was thinking about all this on the way to the trailhead that day and as I climbed the gravel road to the top I could not believe what I saw.
I cannot accurately describe the instant feeling of joy that overcame me. The light was beautiful that morning and I vowed to not put it off any longer. I would return tomorrow at the same time.
And I did.
Of course the light was not as great as the day before, the sky was overcast and I feel the photos don’t really do them justice. Presented with less than ideal circumstances I did the best I could do with my situation.
I suppose I find it sort of ironic that I’ve used these chairs as a metaphor for my life. I feel very lucky that they returned, like I was given a second chance. In countless ways I feel this way about life too. I think about my family’s near-death experiences, from horrific car accidents and frantic 911 calls to our second child not breathing on her own at birth. I am also mindful of all the unknown dangers we have natively escaped everyday and ones we may not escape in the future. I have learned to never take anything for granted and to do the best that I can do with my situation.
So I am grateful. For returning chairs, beautiful days, wonderful friends and family, and of course, second chances.