Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gratitude Revisited

The other day I found myself re-reading all of my posts from my hike.  One, in particular, stood out.  It was the very first one I wrote from the Trail itself.  I said that the overwhelming feeling on the Trail was gratitude.  I detailed several things that had happened for why I was so grateful.

Funny thing.  They were such LITTLE things.  Gloves. An offer of a slackpack (one that didn't pan out).  Finding shelter in snow.  Even now, they don't really SEEM like little things.  At the time, they were HUGE! Gloves may have been the difference between further nerve damage or not.  That's a lifetime consequence... not so little.  Being able to work at Len Foote Inn... my hiking partner, Yeti, was fighting illness and exhaustion.  Having that place could have been the difference between her continuing her hike or not even before she got to the actual Trail.  Or worse.  Again, not little.  

On the flip side, I could have been ungrateful about all the cold and snow we started in.  The fact that I needed to be concerned about nerve damage or hypothermia - well, that's a bummer.  Shouldn't I be focused on THOSE things instead?  But no, instead, I was grateful for the small things people could offer us to help.

It's hard to keep that focus here in frigid Wisconsin.  Believe me, I have tried.  But I find that I tend to focus more on what I do NOT have instead of the small things that are being provided.  I miss hiking.  I miss people.  I miss warmth and sunshine.  I miss not waking up to a window-full of the neighbor's house.  I miss the smell of my backpack straps (I know, that's disturbing).

I have spurts of gratefulness.  That's actually what prompted this blogpost.  I wanted to write about what I was so grateful for, even here in condo-land: my housemates, daily coffee, the freshly fallen snow, the fact that it was warmer on Sunday so I could hike with new people, the bread recipe my sister shared, lunch with my other sister.  

But, I must admit, it's harder here.  Not impossible.  And certainly something I need to continue working on.  But I'm not there yet.  I'm not your always-smiling-silver-lining-pointing kind of gal.  There's a lot more to take for granted here, and thus to complain about.  On the Trail, there were so few needs, but they were so apparent that it was easy to see when those needs got met.  Here my needs are less tangible, more complex, more spread out in several directions.  I don't always see them being met.  Or I take it for granted.  

It's strange how I can be so grateful one millisecond, and the next (and sometimes emotions can occupy the same mind at the same time), I'm all cynical-genX-snark.  Not sure how to cure myself of that other than to keep pointing my way back to gratitude when I see I'm not there.  

Yup, I know.  That's not much resolution for a blog post.  No lesson learned or something achieved.  But, that's what I got for you at the moment.  You're welcome ;-)

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