Happy New Year everyone! I know I’m a bit late to the conversation but that seems to be how I roll, I guess I like time to process change and new beginnings.
After staying up way too late and missing our scheduled First Day Hike with a ranger-led group, Nick and I rallied our combined forces and made it out to the trailhead to squeeze in a hike before it got dark at the early hour of 4:40 pm. We chose the Millennium Trail hike at Edgar Evins State Park and were given a satisfying 2.5 miles with peaceful lake view.
In some ways, winter hikes are not as beautiful as those of other seasons – after all, most of the foliage has dropped from the trees and the landscape is largely brown and gray. For me, the sparse landscape and quiet emptiness is a good background for contemplation.
In the middle of all the neutral hues, spots of verdant green stood out. We walked moderately, taking in the fresh air and stopping often to revel in the stillness of the forest (what peace after the noise of the holidays!); admire the landmarks and details on the path.
I wanted to hike for lots of reasons – I enjoy hiking, I love being surrounded by so much life in the middle of God’s creation, I read a book about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and have been geeking out about being in the woods ever since.
But the main reason I wanted to hike on New Year’s Day was this – to celebrate my body and seal a promise to be kinder to myself. I have spent most of my life berating and punishing this biological miracle that carries me through life by telling it that it’s not good enough. This hike was the “reset” button that marks a beginning to something new; you could say it was like taking a walk to another way of being.
Instead of alternating severe restriction and binging with food I will listen to my body and feed it what it needs and enjoys.
Instead of exercising to pound my body into submission I will move it well so it can be strong and confident.
Instead of criticizing my weight and pants size I will be grateful for my health and all of the beautiful things I can do with my body. And buy pants that fit.
I want to do these things because I am ready to love myself better so I can love others better. What is it like to carry myself gracefully tall and be proud of what I look like? What is it like to not be distracted by the way my clothes fit so I can listen more carefully when someone is talking? What is it like to be okay with myself, just as I am – while reaping the benefits of taking good care of my body?
I hope to be able to answer these questions and be delighted by other revelations as I learn to grow in celebration and love for who I am created to be. You know what would make this journey even better? If you’d join me, friend! Let’s do this!