Last weekend, the ten-year old and I went on a little hike together. That’s me, looking out onto the valley below. I’m afraid of heights, but when I’m around the kiddos, I try to put on a brave face. So, when it came time to snap a few photos, and my son had asked that I sit on a rock overlooking everything around us, I swallowed the trepidation, and went for it.
He’s not afraid of heights. There’s not a whole lot he’s afraid of, not that I can tell. Here he is, standing a little too close to the edge, at least for my own comfort.
We share a love for nature. It’s the strongest way the two of us connect with one another. During the climb, we’d periodically look down towards the bottom, amazed at how high up we were. At the top, he tried to catch a whiptail, but it was much too fast. It scurried along the hot desert sand, seemingly within the blink of an eye, only to disappear behind a scattering of sagebrush.
I thought of so many different things while our hiking boots crunched the pebbles and dirt. My mind never shuts down, even when I’m ensconced by nature. I imagine when others say the fresh air clears their heads, for me, it signifies the ability to let my mind become as large as the bright blue sky above me, no longer feeling small, but a part of something, a part of everything, really.
Why am I here? Am I fulfilling my purpose? Do I continue to inspire, to be inspired, to take care of my family, be a good mother, to treat others with love and respect, am I working on being a more open-minded individual, am I cutting the negativity out of my life as much as I’m able to, focusing more on the love and positivity that I want to surround myself with, can I stand strong in the face of adversity, will I ever get to a place where I can truly say it’s okay, that it’s enough, will it ever be enough, or is it too much?
Those are the thoughts rambling inside my head, a long drawn-out sentence. I’m sure I could work on zoning out, finding some sort of meditative state of mind while I’m standing under the hot Arizona sun, yet I’ve recently discovered that for me, allowing myself to think allows me to accept it, to make it more or less tangible, depending on the outcome I’m searching for, to be okay with the fact that I’m a thinker. It’s okay to think, giving myself the peace and quiet of my own private thoughts, not dictated by time or other obligations and a to-do list.
My boy, he’s a thinker, too. He ponders a lot, broods over something like he’s examining the smooth surface of a shiny pebble, looking for the creaks and cracks within it, eyes scrunched up in deep thought. We’re silent up there on the top of the mountain, lost within our own thoughts, our own worlds.
And then the butterfly comes.
A swallowtail, black and yellow blending together within a flutter of wings, silent but loud in its approach. It plays within the sparsely laid brush and bush, catching the attention of my son, who decides to capture the moment on camera, as best he can. I smile while watching him, thinking back to my own youth, the many times I begged someone for a camera, a camcorder, wanting to capture every moment possible, because I’m nostalgic like that.
The swallowtail is none the wiser, darting back and forth, stilling our thoughts, even if for a moment. There’s a delicate balance between the butterfly’s wings, and the wind, tilting it this way and that, an equilibrium I’ve tried to replicate in my own life many, many times before.
I want balance. I’m sure we all do. But there are many things that throw a wrench in the delicate balance of my life, and I keep trying to find the equilibrium. It’s hard. I’ve mapped out a plan for how I expect my life to go, then something happens, derailing everything. It can be the tiniest nuance, a small gust of wind, or at times, movements that feel like a hurricane.
There is no such thing as perfection. I may not ever find that perfect balance, even though I try. I have decided that the best course of action, for me, is to do what I can, what I’m able to do. To do the best of my abilities, and let the rest go, allowing those thoughts to expand. My own special balance. My own special peace.