Thankful for the foothills

There is not one person within my tribe of friends that will say, "That Audrey, she's such an outdoorsy person." In fact, I've been the brunt of many camping jokes. I see nothing wrong with requiring an environment with regulated temperatures and facilities to answer the call of nature and bathe with warm water in privacy. Is this too much to ask? I think not. That being said, I'm a huge fan of the foothills in my town. They are close enough to offer convenience, while fooling my spirit into thinking I'm in an unpopulated area communing with the earth. I go for a few hours and have the freedom to head home and shower the mud or various nature-type things off. I sound prissy. I wave that flag. 

(click for slideshow)

I cried over bating a hook

I was born into a family with a long line of hunters, fishers, farmers, and moonshiners if you look back far enough. What a surprise I was to my dad when I cried over bating a hook. Although I enjoyed archery, the thought of harming a living being wasn't within the scope of possibility for me. Sure, I ate the deer, elk, and fried chucker nuggets that were prepared for dinner and can say that they were at least organic and very tasty. So I wasn't outdoorsy. I am a little princess in many ways. However, the years I made home visits as a social worker were done in many strange environments that lacked the comforts of home. If I'm helping someone else, I'm happy to step outside of my personal comfort zone and offer unconditional kindness and crisis intervention- even if there are yucky smells and mice. Yes, Mice.

I can still hear her sneezing from getting squirted by a stink beetle...

I've been frequenting the foothills since my early 20's. I had this precious dog named Oryan and she was my best friend. I lived downtown in a crappy apartment that I loved. We made our rounds to Starbucks and the foothills nearly every single day. There was a pond and endless trails that we enjoyed. I can still identify a few logs in which dramatic poetry was born. There were some years in which my trips became less frequent. During school, when my daughter was especially young, and living in various locations made travel downtown difficult. I revisited my trails a few years back when I got my dog Maslow. Oryan died of cancer in 2010 and I swear- her spirit lives in that military park. If I close my eyes, I can still feel her licking my knees or hear her sneezing from getting squirted by a stink beetle. Awwwww. 

The foothills provide me with a spiritual feeding of sorts. When I'm there, no matter what has been going on in my mind, I'm able to focus on the beauty around me. I've been known to stop mid-stride to touch a blooming sage brush or take a picture of a thistle with sprays of purple around it's prickles. My daughter and I always make it a point to look at our hikes as a treasure hunt... we are there to find something made for our eyes. To bless us with it's beauty. I always find something that is unique and perfect. This morning I went on a hike and found these lovelies:

It's not everyday you get to see a chrysalis, or TWO! It got me thinking about one of the absolutes in life. Change. Transformation. How wonderful to know that whatever we are today, we are promised the opportunity to grow and become something new if we choose. I think about how many times I have had the opportunity to transform. To break down the core of who I am, to become something entirely new and more polished, kind, or just simply sinking into my purpose and allowing it to be. If you aren't happy with your job, you can find something that makes your heart sing. If you want to get that degree to finally pursue english lit - do it. If you look in the mirror and think- wow, I'm not a nice person. Transform into a person you can be proud of. Stop gossiping and judging other people. Speak kindness and uplift others. Transformation is something we can all benefit from. 

Old man slacker-thrift store clothes...

These foothills have witnessed the transformation of this gal. They have seen me sporting a bandana and old man slacker-thrift store clothes, smoking and writing tragic prose. They have seen me driven, in the honors college. They have watched me become a mother, a social worker and a good friend to others. They have helped me find my patience, mindfulness and appreciation of the seasons. That life can spring from the dreariest of circumstances. What is your own transformation? What are you becoming today? Take a moment to reflect on the beautiful experiences that brought you here and what is yet to become. Happy gratitude Tuesday.

AM