This past Saturday was absolutely splendid. The weather finally feels like summer is done and the cooler fall temperatures are here. My man is home after a week away for work (I survived - yea!) and we are all in need of some quality family time. I scour my online resources for the best of the weekend, finding numerous fantastic fun-filled harvest festivals and kid-oriented events. I'm all for it, I mean, who doesn't like spending $60 (at least) for wagon rides, hot dogs, and corn mazes? It's the memories that matter, right? Only, well, I'm not feeling it. As much as I try to convince myself, I'm simply not in the mood for crowds. I just want to be with my family with plenty of space and opportunity to reconnect. Fine, call me crazy, but I can't help it. I'm a nature kind of gal.
I decide that a nice hike is in order. We drive to one of our favorite local hiking spots called O'Melveny Park. Sadly, last year, there was a horrible fire in the area of our beloved park, and I totally feared the worst after seeing the entrance sign burned down and a closed sign in it's place. I was crushed. Devastated. Mad. Sad. You name it. Only, to my surprise, the park opened after a month or so and seemed to be mostly okay, with the major extent of the damage in the surrounding hills. Whew!
This day we venture further in than usual towards the hills and discover the once overgrown and neglected trail that I never attempted because I was scared about ticks that a friend warned me about and concealed mountain lions attacking us when we least expected it. Well, this time it was plowed clear and the brush cut way back and low and beyond, a new adventure! It was kind of exciting, actually. What a weird feeling going to a place that clearly got scorched by the fire and feared totally lost, only to find it in better shape than I can ever remember it. We saw reminders all around us of the recent fire, like burned trees and lack of vegetation. But, sprouting up underneath the trees was new green growth. I felt so in awe and hopeful. Big smiles for sure. Just think about what the spring will bring?
With about a week left at my current job of over sixteen years, I can't help but think about my uncertain future. What at first seemed unimaginable to lose such a huge part of my life to ridiculous budget cuts, I now think it's not the end but only a new beginning. A friend said to me today that people still cry when an abusive parent dies, like we still mourn the end of something even though it's not necessarily a bad thing to be done with that part of our lives. As with my beautiful hiking spot, the fires actually did a good thing, making way for a healthier and more enjoyable environment for years to come. I picture an open trail ahead, full of possibilities. I don't have to be hampered by fear of change, I can be excited about what lies ahead. And, now that I'll have nothing but time and less dragging me down, maybe I'll finally take that trail all the way to the top. I'm ready.