Let me begin by saying Happy Halloween! Today marks 7years of marital bliss for Mike and I. Those 5months on the trail have strengthened both of us and assisted our relationship in growing stronger as well. It has been almost 2 and a hlaf months since I completed my journey and many transformations are still occurring.
The biggest comment I hear from people is what a big accomplishment it is hiking that distance by myself. Well, for me, it always seemed easy and possible, so...I guess it still does not seem like such a big feat! Also, being back into "reality" it feels like I never left or hiked the Appalachian Trail. Only when I am at work do I remember my adventure through assisting people prepare for their journeys.
Recently, I flew to Michigan for my brother-in-laws wedding. Riding in the plane brought back memories from flying home after the trail. I found part of me wishing I was flying back to the east to do some more hiking. As I went for a run along Lakeshore Drive in the Holland/Grand Haven area, I stared in awe at the beautiful fall colors on the trees and began making mental plans to return to the trail in the northeast to hike during peak color.
Upon completing the trail, Mike and I discussed moving to the east somewhere. It may never happen, but sometimes I think it would be a great idea! Then, it shows up on the news how the east is getting hit with severe weather, and I look outside at the Sunshine and warmth here in Colorado and snuggle into the comfort of the beauty here in the West! We may not have beautiful Fall Color but we do have sunshine that warms me through and through leaving me with a warm fuzzy feeling.
Since finishing the trail, I have felt the need to almost preach humanity to people. I listen to the news and worry for where our society is headed. Many of us no longer think of anyone or anything but ourselves. We do the token motions of sporting a ribbon or bracelet for some charity or what sounds like a sound reason. I truly believe that actions speak louder than words, and definitely louder than money.
A while back, I wrote of walking from my home to the park where Mike and I run on Tuesday evenings. The realization at that time was how unsafe the world has become. Sitting at the wedding reception this weekend with Mike's cousin from Florida whom has 2 young boys, and talked of how unsafe life has gotten these days. When we were younger, both she and I told of being able to wander all over the neighborhood knowing someone was keeping an eye on us. Today, we live in a world where seldom do we even bother to get to know our neighbors. Instead, we look at them in fear as though they might be some criminal or just try to keep us down somehow. If we think they may be able to assist us in promoting ourselves, then we take the time to know them and show all our good traits to them. I guess what I am trying to say is that on the trail I learned the following:
We are all imperfect creatures. Whether we evolved from apes or were created by God, we were put here for a reason. For each of us, that reason may be a little different, but somehow we were created in the fashion of a jigsaw puzzle. Each of us is a piece that interacts with one another to make a beautiful picture. If we start trimming the pieces, then there are certain pieces left out and the picture is left looking mutilated and deformed. At the base level, we all need each other.
So, my challenge to the world is to be aware of your surroundings and try to help when needed. I'm not saying donate money to a charity thus allowing yourself to boast about how you do good things. My request is actually helping people out. Recently, I worked on a trail project at Bear Creek Lake Park here in Colorado. On the Trail, I assisted my hiking family as I was capable and was assisted by many "Trail Angels" when I was in need. It goes back to that movie, Pay It Forward. Human kindness is fading away and without it, I see us returning to the ways of the savages and being in constant war with each other over the silliest of things.
Blessed Be and remember to help those around you and always PAY IT FORWARD! Do no harm and as the pagan world believes, whatever you do unto others comes back on you threefold. Also, do not forget the past. Happy Dia de los Muertos as well as All Saints Day. It is a blessed time to celebrate LIFE!