I woke up again this morning in my lovely private wooded site in the Kaibab National Forest (still smiling about dinner last night with new friends). I wanted to stay there, spend the day reading and doing yoga and just being under the canopy of pines, reflecting upon my journey and the experiences I’ve had… For whatever reason, I didn’t do that. I didn’t listen to my inner voice, even though it was speaking loudly and clearly (though gently). I got back on the road again and regretted it all day. I should always listen to that voice. It knows me so well. It knows what my soul and spirit need the most.
The day wasn’t terrible, but it was one of the most unsettled I’ve had. I didn’t want to drive. Or see any sites. I didn’t want to leave the cool comfort of my forest for the heat of Utah. I wanted to “bathe” in the trees, practice what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku – literally “forest bath” – slowing down, just being present in the woods, deliberately taking in nature with all of my senses.
But I didn’t. I drove. To Utah. In the heat. Wearing a long-sleeve shirt to protect my left arm from the onslaught of sun coming in my driver’s side window. The day wasn’t fulfilling or peaceful. All day, I felt aimless and at the same time like I was chasing something. I didn’t make wise decisions, and I wish I could take back the day all together. (But I can’t, and that’s okay. I’m learning.)
I was grateful to find a quiet place to camp within the Grand Staircase Escalante…but the tiny ants that covered the red dirt beneath my feet and car and camp chair bit me relentlessly, as if to remind me that I’d chosen wrongly. Still, the sunset above the desert landscape was beautiful and calming, and as the cool breeze cut through the heat of the day, I rested and read and tried to unwind.
In nature, I looked for forgiveness and restoration, for nature is redemptive wherever we sit with her and just be. Today, I learned a valuable lesson about tuning inward, listening, and trusting myself.