It was one nasty day. Temperatures were below freezing and the wind was gusting to over 30 miles an hour at times. But that didn’t change the plan. I met up with my friend Sarah and her amazing 6-year-old daughter Katie to scout out some trails at Chestnut Ridge Park.
As we suspected, once we got into the actual woods, the wind didn’t bother us. (Thank you trees, rocks and earth for blocking out the howling, bitter wind and allowing us to actually feel comfortable.) Our first exploration was down the 100 Steps. I’ve heard of the 100 Steps but never went looking for them. Turns out they’re pretty easy to find, but time and erosion have collapsed parts of the wall and some of the steps are washed away. Still, it’s not too difficult to travel down to the creek for some beautiful, interesting views that spark the imagination and nourish the soul.
We traveled a little bit along the creek, but realized between water and ice that we’d get too wet for our intentions on this day. (Mental note for the summer months, however.) As I was climbing up and around and then back down the rocks and fallen trees, I encountered some icy patches.
“I’m a big believer in four points of contact,” I said, as I used both hands for balance and to guide me along. The challenge came in going back down the rock where there icy patches and my legs were too short to step over to solid ground. What to do?
Five points of contact — Hands. Feet. And butt.
I found this hysterically funny. Which often happens. I amuse myself. But more than that, it reminded me that even if we are on the same path as someone else, our experience of the journey is ours and ours alone. We might get insight or tips or say, “hey, let me try it that way” by watching others. But at the end of the day, we have the opportunity to do it our own way. Sometimes it works out great. Other times it’s a little rough. And sometimes it means sliding down on your butt. The experience of the journey, and even the arrival at your destination, brings more joy when you open up to doing it your way, no matter what that way might look like.
Some days, you need five points of contact to get your balance and move forward. Silly looking? Maybe. But did you move forward anyway? No one gets to see the world the way you do. Embrace your vantage point.