My poor mom has the flu, so I’m home with Chet today. To make the best of our unexpected day together, I loaded us up in truck and headed to our local state park. We were going for a trail run. We would cap off the run with snacks in the park and a scavenger hunt for sticks, rocks, and trees. As I pulled into my parking spot, my heart sank. I forgot the jogging stroller. My brain was screaming, “attention to detail Kristy! That was your goal for the week. Who cares that you are focusing on your eating. Now you can’t run.” And then I laughed, unloaded the car anyway and decided to walk as far as Chet’s legs would carry him. I could carry him back to the car when he got tired.
Chet and I ventured down the trail. The trail that I have run so many times before took on a whole new appearance when being walked at the pace of an almost two year old. I noticed every tree, every stick, every rock, and every leaf. We explored one tiny section on the trail for thirty minutes. Once satisfied with his exploration, Chet took off. “Go Baby Go,” I cheered as he ran. Runners ran by in the other direction. “Go Go Go,” Chet cheered.
About 3/4 of a mile down the trail is a lake. We made it to this destination. We threw sticks in the water. We watched the ripples. As we were collecting acorns, a woman came from around the corner. Chet gravitated to her instantly. We started talking. She told me her son was now 29. Conversation progressed and she reminisced about breast-feeding and raising her two children. She birthed them both at home. When I told her how much I love natural child-birth too her face started to glow. As she went to leave to continue her walk, she told me how she had watch her kids grow up in this park. They had a spot on the trail they always had their picnics and how the tree that marked the spot is now gone. In its place is a new tree coming to life. She walks this trail every day, but now she was getting ready to move. She had booked a ticket to a small town in Mexico. After travelling the planet with her two small kids, she had decided it was time for a new permanent home but she wasn’t sure. She sat back down, and we kept talking. The flow of the conversation lead us to Utah. I mentioned how much my husband and I love that piece of our planet. She does too, and that is exactly where she really wants to move, but fear is stopping her. We talked about all the good things that come from conquering fear. Then the conversation ended and she left again. Then she returned again. She told me she is changing her plane ticket. She is moving to Utah. She was heading home to make new travel arrangements. With a smile on her face, she thanked me. She told me it was great to connect with someone who values nature the way she does. She was convinced I was there to give her the confidence to make the next step in her life.
“The great benefit of slowing down is reclaiming the time and tranquility to make meaningful connections–with people, with culture, with work, with nature, with our own bodies and minds” ~Carl Honore
I wasn’t successful at running this morning, but I’m pretty certain I ended up exactly where I was supposed to be. I don’t know if she went home and changed her plane ticket. I don’t know where she will end up, but it’s pretty amazing to me that I could be the reason someone chooses left or right at a fork in a road. I don’t know why she’s moving or how she got here, but I do know she was lived a life she loves. In the thirty minutes I spent with her, she left on imprint on my life. I sure am glad I forgot my running stroller.