It would appear, that despite all attempts at heart failure via anxiety, that Saturday’s excursion proved a success.
The pressure was on. I half prayed on Friday night to wake up to torrential rain heavy enough as to provide legitimate excuse for cancellation. I fiddled around with my back pack, packed up extra snacks, speculated as to the type of person our one signed up participant would be.
There were panicked moments. Being only a threesome, she’d have to carpool with us. That meant extra talking…performing.
There were tenth and eleventh thoughts…why had I chosen a hike so far away? What if it’s too long for her fitness level? What if it’s too short and easy for her fitness level?
In the end, I did what I always do. I ignored my misgivings and kept marching stalwartly on. That’s what happens in my head, you see. There are two warring factions: One, a neurotic, shell-shocked harbinger of certain, thundering doom and the other, a pink-cheeked optimist believing unwaveringly in the possibility of beauty around each corner. They’re both of equal size and brawn, and evenly matched in tenacity and conviction. Predicting the winner in any given week or day or even second is a crap shoot, the odds stacked squarely at 50/50.
We saw our third the moment we pulled into the fresh market parking lot. No turning back then, so I got out of the truck, shook her hand and invited her to drive with us. No sense in stepping in one toe at a time right? She piled her things into the back seat, gave a good-natured shrug to the idea that we had now heat and that our dog is a whiny mess (she takes after her mom….), and we were off. On the road to adventure.
The rest of the car ride was well-deserving of my sigh of relief. Conversation was easy and plentiful, and my liberal use of The Eff Word seemed not to offend. Within a half an hour, I was able to begin congratulating myself on a smooth embarkation, and to allow for the slightest loosening of tension at the very edges of my nerves. I breathed out slightly, and gave way to what the day wanted to be. In skydiving, the hardest part is stepping out of the plane. I find that to be mostly true of most other adventures I subject myself to as well.
There was a moment or two–when we were driving around, unable to find the trailhead–when I began to mourn as fleeting the success of the trip, but, thanks to some cow farmers going about their daily business, we were soon back on track and “a pied”, hiking toward Towell Falls.
The rest of the day passed pleasantly and in the best way I could have imagined it. Everyone moved at a similar pace and the conversation wove in and out unprompted by foreign fertilizers. At a mile in, my anxiety was at its lowest drone, and I reached my eyes around, taking in the day.
I fight endlessly and everyday against dark clouds and demons. I feel, and deeply, the worst of each of my days. But sometimes–and this is what keeps me from giving in to that neurotic dissenter–I manage to beat my own expectations, and prove the existence of ease and okay-ness. This Too Shall Pass. Sometimes, I repeat it enough that it’s true.