So fellow travelers, back home from the last road trip of the summer, which brought me to the summit of several mountain trails.
Red Hill Fire Tower, one of two fire tower hikes accomplished this week.
Today, a turn of a calendar page, September arrives and just like that, summer adventures give way to another school year. Back to the Beginning* we go.
Reflecting back on summer, it has packed so many good memories and peak experiences it somehow feels more than just ten weeks have passed. A measure perhaps of coming to the end of 73 days feeling satisfied not only with what I’ve done, but more essentially with how I lived those days.
Time with family
Precious memories from a memorable event
Even a few wishes granted
Side Stage at the Fillmore, in Philadelphia PA. Watching Switchfoot on stage from the stage was incredible. Best view of Chad’s drumming in 13 concerts! Yes, my favorite humans even staged a snowball fight as a nod to the snowed out concert last February. And finally getting to see one of Jon’s legendary after shows, singing along with so many other people- community, FAMILY at its best.
Remarkably, this summer did not feel as if it flew by too quickly, making it unique to every previous summer I can remember. The pace of life felt just right- a benefit perhaps to a conscious choice I made to live these months as if I am retired.
Not that every day was perfect; mid-August brought an unexpected challenge in a long standing friendship which caught me off guard. Although the dynamics were not within my direct family, the fallout rippled through close relationships with people as dear to me as family. Navigating the emotional war zone felt like walking through a minefield, one wrong step and the collateral damage could be brutal.
The abandoned Overlook Hotel near the summit of Overlook Mountain
I could instead choose to not engage in the conflict, to honor my boundaries and create space for me to stay true to myself.
Angry confrontations never resolve conflicts but choosing not to engage in confrontation is often seen as a sign of weakness. “Man-up” people say as if this stereotypical frame for confrontation as being “manly” aka “powerful and strong,” makes it more acceptable. It’s an expression which, if used in ernest, all but eliminates any respect I might have for someone.
Words spoken from anger rise from fear and people given to confrontation are always driven by their fears. Everyone is afraid and if we refuse to face those fears they become our Achilles heel. Like an untreated wound, unknown fears will fester and eventually poison our choices with toxic dysfunction. Fear also blinds us to the goodness in our lives. It can harden our hearts and prevent us from giving and receiving love.
View from Overlook Mountain Fire Tower, a 1450 ft ascent, 3hrs 5min of hiking, 5.1 miles roundtrip and worth every step.
Sometimes the hardest crossroads are the ones where we must part ways from someone we care for deeply, yet we can continue to love them even as we move forward on our own journey, knowing they too can make a choice to change and healing will come. Standing in the shadow between then and now, I am grateful for the peace and strength gathered on this summer’s journeys.
New season, new beginnings, let the adventures begin again.
Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready
*Back to the Beginning is one of my favorite songs by ( of course ) Switchfoot. I may not surf but it has carried me through waves of many changes.