From Steel Ball to Silly Putty
Every Saturday, I go hiking somewhere beautiful. At the beginning of every hike, I'm like a ball of steel. Hard, colorless, rigid, and annoyed because I dragged myself a couple hours into the middle of nowhere when I could be working or otherwise furthering myself.
This is such a waste of my time, I utter. I'll try to get it over with quickly so I can head back.
The first hour or so of each hike, I'm not even there. I'm in the world inside my head, an anxious state where I'm always behind and I'll never catch up. A world where I'm too late to ever be successful. Where I need to learning, doing, or I'll be nothing. It's a very calculated and lifeless world.
After the first hour, I catch myself noticing the little flowers alongside the path. The sunshine warming my skin. The rich smell of fresh earth and the vanilla-like scent of pine. I stop somewhere and have a snack, admiring the view. I turn from steel to clay, still grey and a bit hard to work with, but softer and a bit more aware of the world around me.
On the way back, golden meadows catch my eye and darting birds grab my attention. I catch myself smiling more often than not. I veer off the main trail and go exploring for the hell of it. Ideas burst into my mind like bright sunshine and I gleefully write them down for later. I turn from clay into a unicorn-colored ball of silly putty. My shoulders drop, my head raises, and I dance and dart around the trail, grinning from ear to ear, fully immersed in the marvelous world around me.
These Saturdays change the entire tone of the following week. When I get home, I feel calmer, more balanced, more joyous and free and flowy and goofy and playful and fun. I like myself more. I feel like I'm on the right path and like my life is pretty great.
Nature helps to bring me back to myself, and I want to incorporate it into my life more. But here in Seattle, it's at least an hour and a half to really get anywhere good for hiking. That means that my shortest drive on Saturdays is 3 hours round trip; usually it's more around 4 or 5 hours. It's just... not fun to drive that much and it makes me kind of dread Saturdays because nature time takes up my entire day.
So I'm seriously considering leaving Seattle when my lease is up. Being in quarantine, there is nothing I've missed about Seattle. Plus it's expensive AF and Seattleites have a reputation for sucking. Plus, my closest two friends here both have plans to leave.
I don't know if I'll stay in WA or move back to Colorado or return to my childhood home of Utah or do something else. All I know is that wherever I move, it's going to be 30 min or less from a hiking trail.