I told my husband that I wanted to get out in nature for a bit this holiday weekend. He researched and planned a day trip to Hyde Memorial State Park, near Santa Fe. We picked a hiking trail that would take us up to a waterfall. The Trail map showed about half a mile on a loop trail, then a connection to the waterfall trail; less than mile to the fall, easily done even while wearing our 20 pound baby.
We chatted and enjoyed the sights and sounds, making a quick time of the first half of the trail. We crossed the stream using an adorable foot bridge and saw a sign with the map in the distance. We came up to the map eagerly, excited to check our progress and assess how close we were to our destination. We continued on, estimating that we would reach the waterfall in no time at all. Only, we didn’t. We hiked for another half of a mile before the next sign with a map only to realize that we took a different fork in the trail. Now we would have to backtrack. By this point, our little man found himself in a comfortable sleep, snuggled in close to my chest.
We hiked back down the mountain and finally back to the first sign, near the foot bridge. This time we noticed a large sign with an arrow pointing to the waterfall trail. How could we have looked past it earlier?
We were so excited to look for the next milestone marker that we missed what was literally right in front of us.
That’s the hard part and where I have been struggling. The universe gave me this literal example to show me without question. I’ve been so focused on the milestones that I’m missing the present right in front of me. Rather than spending my time enjoying life as it exists now, I have been worrying about what the future might bring and trying to over prepare for it.
I have felt this feeling before, about this same time last year. Then, I worried about being able to give birth safely and in the way that we wanted to. I day dreamed about what it would be like to hold my baby with my arms rather than my womb. I struggled with leaving old parts of me behind: parts of my practice, my persona and my physical self. I remember writing in my journal that I was ready for the baby so I could make changes instead of just anticipating what they might be.
Now, I understand how fleeting our time is. I want to etch every giggle, every gummy grin, every snuggle into my heart and memory. I feel like there’s no way to capture everything, to really soak it all in. Especially if I am too busy focusing on the next milestone! The best I can do is use today as a reminder to stay present.
We did make it to the waterfall. It was a steep climb and our little dude slept the whole way. The waterfall was lovely, but really, today was about the journey more than the destination.