Monday, April 22, 2013


I'm a bit behind in my WEGO Challenge writing — which is appropriate since the topic I stalled on is burnout! With today being Earth Day and all, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone (pardon the nature idiom).

DAY 20 of the #HAWMC asks: What gets me OUT of burnout, or OUT of the pit of despair when nothing is going my way? I get thee to the wide-open spaces. 
Copyright TheBigCandMe blog

Hiking up a hill that spills out onto a breathtaking vista is the surest way for me to
put my problems into perspective. The sight of nature acts like a vacuum for my worries, sucking them into the wild, spewing them out across the valley floor, rendering them too infinitesimal to take me down.

I love to hike in the morning when the light is bright and the breeze still chill, before the air drifts up between the canyons and gets toasted by the sun. 
I also love to hike when there is a threat of an approaching storm. Weather of any kind is a reminder that nature is in charge — and I am not alone.

Because it isn't just me up on that mountain; there is a pulsing world of wildlife living in the chaparral and the bunchgrass. 

Bees and insects alight on dainty blossoms, ants aim for the lily leaves, flies feast on coyote scat. Rabbits run through sage scrub; deer disappear beneath the protective cloak of an evergreen, a sycamore, a bay laurel or a black walnut tree. The mountain sings with the sparrows and wrens, swoons with the red-tailed hawks, swoops with the eagles and falcons. 

Lazy lizards with amputated tails stop to sunbathe, while ground squirrels appear like popcorn out of holes in the earth. Rattlesnakes and tarantulas co-exist — it's us that must make our peace with them.

I often encounter the unexpected when hiking, and I look for (and embrace) these moments. 

It's always a good day when I spot a horse being worked out much like me on the trail. Or when I hear the roar of half a dozen cops on motorbikes who stop to shoo a king cobra off the trail and warn me of others farther down the hill.
I also know if I hike too close to sunset, I risk entering "Beauty and the Beast" zone. That's when nature puts on her technicolor light show, while hungry coyotes with their haunting howls hide stage left and right. 

It's also when I see the evening birds fluttering above me in a quickly darkening sky and I recognize them for what they really are: These are the imposter birds. I pick up my pace and pull my hat a little lower over my brow, hoping to make it to my car before the bats drive-bomb my hair.
Despite my sundown dance with the Princes of Darkness, no matter when I take my leave of the mountain, I make sure to leave my troubles there too. Let the wildlife have at my worry; I've got some livin' to do.

DAY 21 of the #HAWMC asked me to ponder this quote: "The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all," then write about where I bloom best. I believe I just did. Two challenges in one post, two birds with one stone. Whew who!


  1. dear renn,

    i love this post! can i come on a hike with you?! your mindfully leaving your worries on the mountain - whoa, that must be soooo therapeutic! and what a good chance to pack up all the comfort and gratitude for every speck of nature that fills you with wonder and carry it home in your heart.

    really - i wanna hike with you!


    karen, TC

    1. Karen: Absolutely! What part of the country are you in? At the very least, you can take a virtual hike via my pics, I have thousands.

  2. Sounds very special. I take walks through the suburbs, though the scenery is rather different. :) ~Catherine

    1. Catherine: That's fun too, especially at dusk when the lights are on and the drapes are opened and you can spot people cooking dinner and carrying on in their day-to-day lives. I used to love that aspect of NYC!

  3. Beautiful photos. I'm also an avid hiker. Where is this? I'm guessing somewhere in the southwest.

    1. Thank you, Eileen! Where do you like to hike? Most of my hiking is done in Cali.


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