Everyone who knows even just a little about me knows that my distain for cold weather is equal to my love for sunny warm water. This fact can make living in the location that I do a bit of a challenge.
In a state that has 9 months of winter and 3 months of questionable sledding, you can find me inside a great deal between October through May. The tricky part is that I really love being out in nature. To that end, my mother seems to not let the fact that the weather is too bad for even animals to venture out or that the temperatures mean most of nature is either frozen or covered in snow stop her from venturing outside.
On this particular day, there was an alternative reason for me to venture out into the frozen wasteland that is Wisconsin in the winter – a monolith. As you may have heard in the news recently, these curious objects have been popping up in the desert of Utah, Europe and other locations. One recently showed up in one of the locations that we like to hike.
We began in search of this local monolith on snow covered paths. As the wind whipped its fury and the below freezing temperatures did their best to creep inside our jackets we continued on, one step at a time. What I found shocking was the amount of other souls in quest of the same discovery. It was a sort of communal feeling of adventure. “Are you looking for the monolith?” Replaced ‘hello’ and ‘good morning’. Each person offering their ideas as to where it might be.
Each person shared pictures they had saved off local websites. Carefully removing gloves and exposing hands to the elements to compare the picture with the local landscape before quickly replacing the gloves and shoving their phone into their jacket. We saw a gentleman with what appeared to be professional photography equipment, a family pulling each other in sleds and a gentleman with a beard that was almost to his belly button. All looking for the monolith, none of whom found it.
Although we discovered many different surprises that frozen morning, we never did glimpse the monolith. Were our spirits a tad cold after walking away from our mission without success? Not really. Discovering how motivating a sense of adventure can be, realizing you can still hike several miles despite not being able to feel your feet and meeting other local explorers made the whole experience worthwhile.
This winter I encourage you to find an adventure to take with your friends. Get outside and stay active. It will help your body, it will help your mind and it will certainly serve your spirit!
While looking for a photo for an entirely different blog post I came across this picture. I found it captivating. You see a man standing on some high ground surveying the distant horizon. Between him and the far point at which he gazes there exists several rock formations, hills, valleys and it could be clouds or waves rather hard to tell.
I began to see a parallel between this picture and life in general. If we are to undertake a long journey as this man seems like he may be about to commence, it serves us well to get up to some high ground and survey the land. We are able to take in the obstacles and plot a course that would seem the most sensible. It is true once we begin our journey we can discover challenges that may cause us to alter our course that we could not discern from afar but overall we stand a much better chance of getting where we are going that if we were to set off blindly.
The modern version of this would be planning a road trip. First you would pick your destination and then look at a map to discover what roads would get you there in the quickest or most scenic way depending on your purpose. You may even consider heavy traffic, construction and any other obstacle you may face to plot your course better. Much like the above example, once you start driving you may encounter some detour you were not expecting and have to adjust your course but you would still be far better off than if you just started the engine and began to drive.
What if you are not planning a trip or adventure in the near future? This information holds true for any journey, not just those of a physical and geographical nature. If your journey be an emotional, business or even spiritual one, it would help to first seek some high ground and look at the big picture. Having a compelling vision of our final destination will make our journey easier. We can plan for the quickest or most scenic route depending on our intentions. Much like the examples above we may encounter a challenge we did not expect and have to adjust our course. We may even be forced to take a step back and gaze at the horizon several times on our journey.
Getting our bearings in life is something we must do often. Sometimes as we near the horizon we find there is more beyond. There are even occasions as we near our destination we discover it is not where we really wish to go and we must plot an entirely new course. Whatever journey we are on it is important we begin with a vision and a destination in mind. It will make our journey easer and our life more enjoyable. Check your bearings as often as you need.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” – Proverbs 29:18
Every Friday I try to leave you all with something to ponder. This came to me ironically while pulling out of my parking space leaving our fine state fair. I was backing up and looking in the rear view mirror. The I shifted into drive, but before I could start to pull away some people were yelling right outside my window and took my attention away for a second. When I saw that it was nothing serious I went back to focusing on leaving my parking space. Forgetting I had already put it in drive, I looked in the rear view mirror and took my foot off the accelerator. Imagine my surprise when the car began to move forward! I immediately applied the brake and thought “That could have been bad” Mind you all this took a second, but as I did pull out of my parking thought I was struck with what a powerful metaphor this is for life. Can you imagine trying to drive forward to work, while only looking in your rear view mirror? First it would take forever and second you would be extremely lucky if you arrived at all. Now what does this have to do with living an amazing life? What struck me, which was luckily not another car, was how many of us do this on a daily basis over and over again? I am not saying the road is filled with crazy drivers, although some days that is debatable. What I am saying is this, how many of us are striving toward a new future while focused on the past? It just doesn’t work. How many times have we heard friends, or even ourselves say “The last person I dated was dishonest so I am going to have a hard time trusting in my new relationship” You are staring in the rear view mirror focusing on your past hurts until BAM! your current relationship crashes due to your ‘trust issues’. How many future ideas and adventures have you passed on because you were focused on past failures? I’m not saying we shouldn’t learn from our past and adjust for the future or even just look back to admire where we were and how far we have come. Just like in driving where you are supposed to ‘glance in the rear view mirror every eight seconds’ I suggest that is what you do with life. You’ll have a lot better results when focused on what is around you and what is coming at you. Remember you can never drive into the future looking into the review mirror. Oh, and as a side note, please use your turn signal.