Surprise and Wonder

Last year I backpacked the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier. By myself. I carried a 40+ pound rucksack filled with a lightweight single person tent, a thin sleeping bag, a superlight blowup pad, an MSR stove with 2 canisters, a water bottle and a filter system, a down jacket, long underwear, a fleece hat, an extra pair of warm socks in a Ziploc baggie, my Tilly hat, and a small waterproof food bag about the size of a five-pound bag of flour. Each meal was carefully weighed and rationed for “just enough for one person.” No extras. No treats. Sufficient but small meals for nine days. I reasoned I could go hungry on the last day and lose a pound or two or three.

Mt. Rainier just after sunrise

On the morning of day eight I ate the last thing in my food bag, an energy bar, and made a cup of hot tea. Before taking down the tent, I sat on a log, sipped the hot liquid, and watched the sunrise. Fiery orange streaks highlighted the glaciers. Cloud wisps tinged with a lilac color drifted across the sky. Transfixed by the splendid view of Mt. Rainier, I breathed deep and long, having no desire to be anywhere else; living in the moment, not acknowledging the past or the future.

And then, a set of brownish-gray wings soared past my peripheral vision.

I turned my head and watched while a great horned owl landed on a Sitka spruce branch no more than 20 feet to my right. Her big yellow eyes stared into mine for what seemed like minutes but more likely only seconds before she once again took flight leaving me full of wonder. Who needs food?

Finding refuge in surprise and admiration.

How did you find solace this week?

Sharon

© 2021. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved

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