I’m hiking up to Pantoll Ranger Station on the Matt Davis Trail at about, I believe, 8:11am. And, I’m listening to a book from the library on my iPod called The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. The book has evolved into pure poetry and beauty. Tin Win, in Burma, is blind and yet he is discovering the world around him by listening and by stillness. By mindful presence, he is learning to see the world with his heart. As I climb Mount Tamalpais, morning sun hits lichen and bright orange mushrooms on fallen tree branches. The light is so enticing and illuminating – so transforming – that, like Tin Win, I simply must stop and wonder at the world around me. I take my time attempting to capture the incredible hues at just the right angle, just the right distance. The recent rains have filled our thirsty, drought-addled mountain creeks and I can hear much longed-for lustily-flowing water as I stand here.
I think about Joy and Gratitude. I think about Time and the luxury of considering what to do with my newfound, post-graduation spaces of it. (On the 18th of December, almost two weeks ago, after five years of post-graduate work, I obtained my Doctor of Nursing Practice. I’m a Doctor Nurse, now.) My thoughts turn to photography, writing, hiking, learning French, to concerted work on my travel-blog, to family and friends, to letter-writing, and to work options. Possibilities.
And, crouching down, right now, to admire the indescribable colors on the edge of a mushroom, just as the thirst of Mt. Tam has finally been quenched, I too am given a long-desired gift. For, Grace greets me – just as it did the moment my daughter Jacque was born almost thirty years ago, when I was still a child, a mere teenager, riddled with fear and anxiety about the future, newly graduated from high school, with dreams of being a doctor seemingly forever torn from my reality – and surprises me and smiles upon me. And, this time, the gift that Grace brings is not borne of flesh and blood but of a beautiful passage in a beautiful book, and of rocks, and water, and lichen, and mushrooms, and fallen logs.
And, I am given Peace.