Upon hearing about the 3,000 miles I've hiked in the last fifteen months, a woman asked me, "Aren't you tired of hiking yet?"
I can't imagine ever being tired of it. Tired, as in exhausted, sometimes, but never tired of it. The next day while fording a river, I thought of one reason why.
It's not only the beauty. No, sometimes the forest is ordinary when I feel my heart might burst. Beautiful, yes, but ordinary. It's the freedom of the forest I love. And the simplicity of the walk.
Just take a step... and that's it.
No alarm clocks, no phone calls.
Take another step.
No traffic, no news, no ads.
Just take another step.
At the river crossing, there are no meetings, no lunch-and-learns, no primary-action-items, no office politics. Just you pulling off your shoes and peeling off your socks. No bosses, no fake smiles, no fake laughs. Just smooth polished stones under your bare feet.
You stop for a moment to stare upstream at the perfect bend of an ancient river. Always new, but ancient. You gaze up at the valley that the water has slowly cut into the solid granite. The same cold water that flows so softly passed your ankles.
There are no computers, no fluorescent-lit cubicals, no ergonomics. Just you closing your eyes and breathing in the sweet smell of pine. No stress, no demands, no corporate ladders. Only you and the forest. And everything is beautiful. Then that feeling rises in your chest and you think your heart might burst.
All that is required is that you just look. Just feel. Just breathe. Just be... Then take another step.