On Tuesdays we take it to the hills. It is Forest School day for the little guy, and most days find us on one of the hills around Kamloops. Yesterday we were Kenna Cartwright. Snow was coming down hard in big clumps.
The rubber boots I was wearing (and I usually never wear outside rainy days) didn’t help much in reminding me to appreciate the moment, as my toes went from cold to very cold to painfully cold soon after we started on the trail. Having the privilege to be seeing beauty on an ordinary morning, yet being stopped short by cold feet. The irony! And yes, tunnel vision, behaviour if you will – we all experience it at times and it rarely makes us proud.
The thing is, if you stick with it and its aftertaste long enough, it brings enough humbleness to be able to say, if willing, that going down the narrow road of rejecting the magic of the big picture for the short-lived moment of expressing bitterness, is simply a price too high to pay. You’d have to pay it a couple of times in order to learn though. Moments of grace? Hardly.
So there was mine, yesterday. Missing. Trailing through snowy forests, surrounded by children, red-cheeked and snow-sprinkled all over, all of them walking with small steps careful to not lose balance, slipping anyway and falling at times, picking up handfuls of snow to taste and being so immersed in the fresh white… I was there to see it all but grumbling inside for reasons too small to matter, too hard to let go of though in the moment, missing so much of it.
Frozen toes and work-related urgency sliced up the time in the woods even more. Stripes of joy were painted over by the thick paint of mental mumbling and grumbling, panic too that I will not be able to do what I had to do. Didn’t I say there was nothing gracious about it? It’s the truth. Second thoughts and hindsight regarding work were all too ready to pluck off everything that was worth keeping.
The moment I was in and I could not see, the wealth that comes with the understanding that every moment is as rich as you allow it to be, which I was forgetting.
The forest was beautiful, the kids were present with jolliness, tears too, they were telling stories and jokes and eating some more snow still after the game of hide-and-seek was done with and we were heading back. The forest I was in was actually hard to see for the trees of worry and immediate discomfort.
Mindfulness is never to be taken for granted. When I do, it’s like it was yesterday. Few things are so dramatic and urgent that they should be allowed to be more than they are – dark clouds on the sky, but not the sky itself. In fact, worry and panic never solve anything anyway.
There’s nothing to gain and everything to win from making the time you’re in worthwhile. Cliché it is, but true. It took me a drive home, laughter in the car as both me and little guy dripped melted snow all over, and a few extra bumps throughout the day to long for the time I should’ve seen the forest and I didn’t.
The moral of the story is…? Graciousness is not my strongest attribute. Nor is remembering to be mindful of the flitting moments of magic. There is hope though. Coming around to the place of seeing it as it should’ve been… Being human, aches and pains and grumbling included, is inescapable. Remembering that we are, as humans, privy to magic, is too easy to forget at times… that is though, what makes it all that much more precious.
Tuesday was learning day indeed. That it is not about being graceful after all, but truthful and willing… The journey continues.