Sunday, December 18, 2011

Preparing for a New Year

Most of the hikers in my neighborhood are gone now.  The popular trail to the Devil's Punchbowl remains closed.  The other day, one of my tennis buddies introduced me to a hidden trail we traversed with my daughter.  It was a four hour journey in a pristine area of the Cleveland National Forest.

I used the hiking time to clear my head and think of the possibilities ahead for 2012.  Then it hit me.  I realized most of the people in my neighborhood stopped hiking because the Forest Service closed the most popular trail in San Diego County.  They gave up.  They retreated to their homes and missed opportunities to find new trails and new adventures.  I don't need to "prepare" for a new year.  All I need to do is be in the moment.

When we reached the mountain peak, the four of us in our group took a lunch break.  The 360º view included the ocean to the west, snow-covered mountains to the east and a small cave to the north.  We decided to explore the cave on our descent.  I snapped pictures along the way.  We had to leave the path in order to reach the cave. When we approached it I recalled all the days in past years when I lived my life inside my own cave.

The other hikers checked out the inside of the cave while I savored the view on the outside.  Then I made a decision about the new year.  I promised myself I will seek out new trails and new adventures.  I will live each day as if it's my last.  I will spend time with nature and appreciate every moment I have with my family and friends.  And I will help others to discover how wonderful life can be when you choose to leave the cave and go out into the world.  I will fill my life's photo album with pictures like the one I captured below on a special day with my daughter and good friends...

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