I forgot how much I enjoyed being in wild places.
I can breathe.
I can hardly believe I forgot that feeling.
Before children, packing up the essentials, driving beyond civilisation and walking into the wild was something I, and small group of close friends, did several times a year. Instead of exploring the cities of the world, as my uni friends were doing, I was exploring the wild places, not too far from home. Day walks were frequent occurrences and we planned one challenging extended walk most years. I looked forward to the challenge, the achievement and the expression of a different part of me.
Since having a family it just hasn't happened. There were the babies. Four in the end. I was pregnant and exhausted or the smallest was too little or I was breastfeeding and couldn't leave them or they were walking and wouldn't sit in the pack carrier for long enough. And then there's my dear husband. He prefers not to carry a pack and walk through the relentless bog and heat and rain and over tree roots and scree, just to get to a peak and have to do it all again to get back. Plus, there's no Wi-Fi in the wild places!!
So, for the past ten years, the pack was hiding in a cupboard, the boots hosted spiders on the shoe rack and the clothing used for gardening in. I was busy with hormones and marriage, nappies and playgroups, school uniforms and play dates. And I still am. But the dream of the wild places is still there, the thoughts of the open spaces still entertained. This has not been the time until now.
With planning of epic proportions, we got there. My mum and I, with my newest friend, her girl and my boys, met my oldest friend and her girls at Cradle Mountain. We walked the Dove Lake Circuit track, otherwise known by us as the 'Reebok track' for how easy it is to walk, ie. you can do it in your sneakers. It is a start. As much as I would love to walk the South Coast Track again, it is not possible with a 5 and 7 year old walking beside me, wanting to hold my hand. And that's OK. I loved having my boys experience what I love about being in the wild places. And wanting to do it with me. If they still want to bushwalk with their mum when they are grown, I'll be happy!
We walked past the boat shed, through the Ballroom Forest and up to Lake Wilkes for a lunch stop. My kids had a great time, exploring the tracks, finding a forest playground, lookouts and secret pathways and running off alot of energy.
I had a great time. I lounged and chatted, I connected and extended friendships. I put stuff aside, just for now.
I do when I'm out there. I am able to breathe.
I see things that I don't normally notice. I am able to think, develop ideas and reflect. It's good! I need to take the time away from the daily, the normal, the necessary to do this, even when it is hard. And I can do it. It is so worth it!
And I remember that now.
That is my small step this week. Remembering why and making plans. Knowing that I need to.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
What helps you to breathe?