Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hiking In Acadia Part Three: Sun, Surf, and Soaking It In

After a heavy day of hiking, walking, and running through the wilderness paths of Acadia, Jamie and I decided to change our pace a bit for the next day. We had discovered an absolutely beautiful stretch of rocky coastline (there are several, but this one was ours) in Acadia where we could take time to read, to write, to reflect, and to soak in the surf. And so, our pilgrimage was a bit shorter and more intentionally focused. Rather than scrambling from trail to trail and taking in new experiences at each stop, we decided to make our way to one place and plant ourselves for a spell. Partially this was a decision based on a bit of a twinge in my Achilles from a speedy 9.3 mile run the previous day, but mainly it was a decision based on finding our Acadia surfside sanctuary.

We made our way quietly along this path in the early morning and dipped down onto the rocky shore of Mount Desert Island’s southeastern shore. The sun appeared in fullness and for a significant period for the first time since our arrival. The waves crashed violently on the rocks, and the whole of our being sat mesmerized by the sights and sounds surrounding us. After reading and writing for a bit in a journal, I just sat back and watched the sporadic clouds above me change shapes as they drifted along the coastal sky. The rhythmic crash and retreat of the waves provided an exquisite soundtrack for this quiet Maine morning.

As if the sight and sounds weren’t already filling my heart and mind with rest and refreshment, I picked up a recently acquired book and started through a few pages. The book was a World War II story about the battle for Crete and how these island people formed an incredible resistance that gave Hitler fits. The book was about this moment in history, but in these opening chapters, it appeared to be as much about people who were living in good relationship with their surroundings—an aspiration for both myself and Jamie.

Sitting and reading, reflecting, and writing, Jamie and I both felt like this was a very different Acadia experience. It was as though we were adjusting to the rhythm around us and we were starting to experience true rest and refreshment. We were not concerned about the future, projects to be accomplished, or even thinking about what we were going to do when we got back home. We were content and our hearts were full with the gifts of the day.

And now, back in West Virginia, we have carried a piece of that Acadia morning in our hearts and into our daily routines. There is plenty of time for planning and working through logistics and conducting mental models for possible futures, but what we desire more of, and dare we say what all of us need more of is a sense of rest and relationship with the present moment and environment, wherever that might be. May we all aspire to find ourselves soaking in the sights, sounds, textures, and flavors of the present moment if not daily, then maybe weekly. And, if the time and space (and weather) permit, may we look heavenward as we lie upon the earth and watch the dance of clouds in the skies.

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