Hiking in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, I was struck by the landscape and how fulfilled I feel when experiencing nature. There we were, my partner and I, unprepared for a hike, no water bottle, only in running shoes, no emergency supplies and our Rogers phone doesn’t work in most of Newfoundland.
But we went anyhow. Let’s just try half an hour. Fifteen minutes out and fifteen minutes back. Surely that will take us to the top of that near mountain/hill thing over there? Well, it didn’t. But we were so close and kept going for another fifteen minutes. Got to the top (?) and found more mountains. Way in the distance over to the right, there was a tiny glimpse of water. The Gulf of St. Lawrence. We wanted to keep going but reality intervened and we turned back. Our half hour walk had turned into an hour.
So why did we do it? One reason. Just have to try everything, and especially things that get us out into that huge world out there. But why? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s my way of feeling truly in the moment, alive, that I matter in that grand scheme of things we hear so much about?
Some of my happiest moments have been similar. One February we took a weekend trip to frozen Niagara Falls and it was the best time I’d ever had there. We walked alone towards the towering trough of frozen spray and marveled at the indomitable force of the water which even in that biting cold would not freeze as it plunged downwards.
We walked on Hadrian’s Wall in northern England and actually ducked when a fighter jet popped up from the air strip nearby and threatened to hit us. On the Great Wall of China my husband and I endured the annoying tagalong woman continuously trying to sell us things as we walked on a structure hundreds of years old and which, reportedly, can be seen from the moon. And just last fall, we hiked in the stunning Rocky mountains in beautiful Alberta with dear friends.
All of these things are bigger than we are. Maybe they feel so good because a little of the world’s wonder rubs off on us. Makes us powerful.
Maybe even powerful enough to get that novel finished and to set it free in the world.