I thought that I knew everything that I needed to know, yet something was missing. I was not achieving the level that I wanted, no matter how dedicated I was to making it happen. I reviewed my steps over and over in my mind. Perhaps I missed something. Perhaps I took a misstep. Nothing came to mind, though. I simply didn’t understand what was holding me back. It all seemed very impossible.
I needed the sound of water to clear my thoughts. The summer monsoon had brought an abundance of moisture to the forest. The tiny, trickling stream of last year was now a rush of blurred snow melt. I could feel the energy in the air. Water cascading down the mountain, the destination unknown. Simply following a natural path. I ventured further into the forest than I had before, driven by a sense that something awaited me. The trail became enshrouded with thick, dense vegetation, and thoughts of foraging bears sat in the back of my mind. The sounds of other hikers was quickly fading, and I knew that I needed to stay alert. I heard the rush of water to my left, but I could not navigate the steep embankment. I retraced my steps to a point where the trail split in two directions, and this time I chose the path to the left, always cognizant of the direction of the stream. Bent down looking at the ground, I pushed my way through a cluster of low trees, and struggled to free my backpack from the twisted, jagged branches. I came into a clearing where I could stand and survey the setting. What I saw captivated me. Images from other parts of the country flooded my thoughts. Places I thought only existed elsewhere, not here. Yet here it was. A micro-ecosystem covered in lush green mosses divided by a beautiful stream winding its way along large boulders. And there were mushrooms! Completely unexpected, and beyond my expectations.
Nature had shown me an unexpected beauty that should not exist in northern New Mexico, yet I discovered it. Before that experience, I was convinced that a setting such as this only thrived in other places, yet here it was at my feet. I believed that I had seen all that the forest offered. I realized, though, that my awareness of the world was limited, and that I can’t even imagine all that this world offers. I came to understand that my journey will always lead me to places that exceed my expectations. That the impossible is possible when conditions are right. I only need to wander a bit, and I will find the greatest opportunities in the people and places that I have yet to discover.
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