A Philosophy Lesson From a Hike

This morning at around 6:40, my family left to hike on one of the trails near our home. It is steep, but not so much to the point that you are gasping after two steps. Our father insisted on running since he hadn’t run yesterday. My sister and I dutifully followed him for a few steps before slowing down and walking with our mother.

When I was running, I saw nothing but the ground ahead of me and the dust coating the dirt. I saw only the people in front of me. I heard only my tired breaths and flashes of conversation of other hikers. I felt the mask against my face strangling my lungs and the feeling of my feet slapping the ground.

When I began walking, I began to realize the trail wasn’t only uphill. It was beauty and nature at the same time. It was human harm and nature’s response. It was little birds hopping from reed to reed, chirping a song only they understand. It was flowers growing at odd angles with shrubs slowly drooping from the notoriously hot weather of California. It was the coolness of the shade against my skin and the blistering heat from the sun on my face.

In life, we are so focused on running on our path that we forget to stop and stand still. We forget that there are people and places around us that are worth visiting and breathing in. Life isn’t about working to be the best and to become the best. It is about living.

It might be silly that I got all of this from a simple one and an half hour hike on a five mile loop. But, honestly, it’s true. I found myself enjoying the hike much more when I was walking slower and just looking around. From the strange looking trees protruding from the hillsides to the rocks that I tripped over on the ground, it was a simple paradise in the middle of houses and buildings.

Sometimes, you don’t have to run.

Sometimes, stand still, close your eyes, and breathe in.

Life is much more than the dust in front of you and the sound of your footsteps desperately trying to catch up to the person in front of you.

Life is about the people and places around you, the feelings that you are feeling, and just living for the fun about it.

Keep that in mind.

Lots of love,

Jess

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