Fourteen things I'll treasure from four days on the AT with a good friend

1. Fragrant pink azaleas blooming.

2. Basking lizards.

3. Dogwoods.

4. Cliff views.

5. Irises.

6. Cute privies.

7. Campfires.

8. Hot drinks on a cold morning.

9. Fields with cows.

10. Spring green and Sky blue.

11. Creeks.

12. Cozy shelters.

13. Being on a woodland path that stretches across thirteen states for over 2000 miles.  That's magical.

14. Sharing a very special place and new experiences with a dear friend who'd never been backpacking before.

It's easy living, and time stretches in beautiful ways on the Appalachian Trail.

It's a joy to get out of my mind and into my body.

To breathe hard going uphill.

To feel the heat and the cold and the wind.

To eat because I'm really hungry.

To stay hydrated like I never seem to manage to do in "real life".

To walk and walk and walk with nothing to do all day but walk.

I look forward to sharing similar experiences with a very small group of women for a few nights in May, 2013.  I'm thinking May 23-27. More details will be coming, but if you want to get on the interest list now, email me at carla@livingwildandprecious.com.  It's going to be amazing!

Calling the animals part II

In between the wild pigs and the owl, things stayed interesting.  I completely surprised a raccoon who was gorging on holly berries just two steps from the trail.  Poor thing had to splash away when I walked by, there was so much water everywhere.  I didn't have a chance to snap a photo, but I do have evidence of his meal!

Then I strolled a little further until I encountered two squirrels crazily chasing each other along the boardwalk.  They were running at top speed toward me, completely oblivious until the first one came within about three feet of me and froze. Then the other one froze.  Where to go?  Into the water? Past me?  Back the other way?  The three of us stared at each other with quiet curiosity, the squirrels still breathing heavily from all their running.  I slowly reached down for my camera and broke the spell.  They spun around and dashed back down the boardwalk like lightning.  I laughed out loud.  It was like watching Chip and Dale.  Seemed like we'd all shared the joke without talking.  How many other ways would the universe surprise me?

Well, with bunnies.  Adorable bunnies who were rather damp as they had probably been swimming or at least wading.  One watched me calmly as it munched on poison ivy.  I guess bunnies can eat it without harm. And then there were the sunbathing squirrels.  I mean, wouldn't you lay out on the boardwalk if your fur was wet from swimming?  I so hated to disturb them (I saw two!) so I walked very slowly to give them time to find a tree to hop to and skip leaping back into the water.

I breathed deeply and smiled.  And then I drove home with gratitude in my heart, looking forward to returning the very next day for more wild, precious, utterly free gifts.

Everything's a miracle

My friend Debbie taught me this.  She said that when she gets stressed or harried, she says to herself, "Everything's a miracle."  Then she looks around to find evidence and always does.  If she's in a car, well, that's a miracle right there that two tons of steel moves around so easily -- and that she's sitting in climate-controlled comfort, perhaps with lovely music coming through the radio.  In the supermarket, she's surrounded by an incredible bounty of food.  Often, she's near her family members who she loves dearly. I've been trying it lately.  I've noticed beautiful bubbles forming in puddles while I strolled in the rain.  I've stared at clouds and birds and trees and happy children.  My cat is definitely a miracle!  As is this computer and the incredible technology that lets me send my thoughts all the way around the world.

And here's one of the best miracles of late which will make sense if you read the previous post, "Arguing with Mother Nature". The magnolias are still blooming!!  My mom got to see dozens of trees still in pink perfection.  Oh, me of little faith . . .

Give it a try.  How many miracles can you find within ten feet of you right now?