Sometimes you take a leap and do something completely out of your comfort zone. This is growth, and it's not only natural, it's vital. A lot of times, there's this little voice in your head that says you're incapable of doing great or challenging things. Usually this comes down to the sinister little thought "you're not enough". Not strong enough, not fast enough, not smart enough, not funny enough.
Guess what? You are enough.
Earlier this spring, when I was in the throes of madness over my web design business and banging my head against the wall trying to make everything work, I had the pleasure of collaborating with The Wander Trees in coordinating a hike and after party to celebrate the trees, and the beauty around them. Working with people who had such a deep and meaningful relationship with the world around us was both exhilarating and enriching.
The morning came, and we gathered at Graveyard Fields for an easy hike through the woods. But given the skill level of the participants, we opted for an adventure off-trail.
Now, y'all, I'm out of shape. I mean, technically an amorphous blob is a shape, but not the shape that is designed to swiftly maneuver through rocks and root systems. I get out of breath watching American Ninja Warrior. My favorite yoga position is corpse pose.
I'm not a hiker, is what I'm saying.
But that didn't matter, because for the next few hours, I was a hiker. We saw beautiful waterfalls, hopped boulders (something I hadn't done since college), discovered a field of ramps, and a hemlock graveyard covered in reishi mushrooms. There was storytelling, 90s references, and camaraderie like I haven't seen in quite some time. By the time we made it to Skinny Dip Falls, we looked like we just came out of a game of Jumanji, just less elephants and more smiles.
I wanted to turn around. I wanted to wait at the car. I thought I was going to have to be airlifted out of there. But instead, I stuck it out, and grew taller, more confident, bruised, sweaty, sunburnt, and satisfied.
"Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees" - Karle Wilson Baker
Everyone deserves to experience the restorative and inspiring forests around us. Everyone deserves the chance to grow taller. That's why it's crucial that we preserve and protect this incredibly valuable resource. I encourage you to check out Dogwood Alliance, and the wonderful things they do for our environment, and support their efforts by sporting a sweet shirt. Start a conversation! Every action we take is capable of making a difference.