I was finally able to go with Heather to Rocky Knob this morning. In the past few months I’ve had a few more health challenges keeping me off the trail. Though I couldn’t make the entire trail, it was still powerful to be on the way back to hiking. As always Heather was her kind and gentle self walking much slower than her normal pace and patiently waiting as I took a picture of a new plant unrecognized. Still, at some point, I had to give up and turn back. It’s the challenge of “hiking” as a disabled person. You always have to check and make sure you can return to your original starting place. It’s something that takes a while to figure out too.
Heather and I know Rocky Knob well enough now that she can go ahead and walk the entire trail as I head back. The first time we did this, I was disappointed that I couldn’t make it. So when I saw this sign near the end of the trail, I felt mocked. It didn’t help that Heather came off the longer trail shortly afterward, though she would never mock me. I do that for myself.
Today however, as I saw the sign, I smiled. It was a smile of a new acceptance of my place in life but also the knowledge of all that walking slow these past 8 years has taught me. By walking slower, I have seen more. By taking my time, I have discovered new plants and ways of being. By slowing down, I see others just like me who are smiling too and oh, is it beautiful.