It's Christmas Eve (finally!!). For a few days now, we've mostly stayed indoors - not because of some massive snow storm or awful illness , but, well, it's been very very very windy...very cold wind. It is not fun to be outside in that, and every indoor place like the mall or bowling alley are packed with other people escaping the wind. Plus, the wind stirred up all of pollens and dust and my allergies are in overdrive. Can you say totally miserable and tired? YES, okay, I'll admit it, I'm a weather wimp. I am a sunny weather kind of gal to the core.
Luckily, today the wind is now a slight breeze thank goodness, and my once angelic happy kids are now fighting over stupid annoying stuff and "stop looking at me!!!" and on the verge of something ugly. Time to get outside. Thankfully, I don't get much resistance and we make it out the door without any tears.
Destination? A new trail that I've always wanted to explore just a mile or so from our favorite local hiking spot. Yep, that's me, wild and crazy hiking mom taking chances. Turns out, this spot is a gem and I love it right away. Despite a horrible fire in the area in 2008, it seems to be recovering well - plenty of green and healthy shady trees. There is lots of running water in the streams, plus neat old rusty cars that obviously drove off the cliff ages ago (kids love that kind of stuff). Oh, and a fantastic tree rope hanging over the perfect spot for swinging. My kids want to take turns swinging over and over and over again with huge smiles and "THAT WAS SOOO FUN!!" screams of joy (I had to literally take a leap of faith and let go of fearing they would get hurt...it was worth it). And best of all, we were all smiling again.
I knew we all desperately needed to get out in nature for a while - to get centered and to feel free. Ah, and the warm sun...like medicine for the busy pre-holiday pent up soul, I tell you. So what if I'm a weather wimp and I consider this hiking spot in the city my escape. My outdoorsy friend in New Hampshire lives with months and months of snow with very little sun but unlimited nature. Yea for her! All power to her. That's what centers her and where she feels most at home after years in LA. But, until I pack it up and move to a small little town surrounded by nature (someday?), I just have to find it where I can. People in Manhattan take refuge in Central Park, surrounded by skyscrapers, so I consider my beautiful backyard or local hiking trail my place to center and unwind.
I'm feeling good, totally ready for the glorious festivities of the season - indulgent food and spirits, family, friends, PRESENTS!!!, unlimited guilt-free sweets, and cheesy Christmas movies. I might not be thinking the same thing in the next few days when the kids are creating huge messes around the house with scattered new toys and wild imagination. But, instead of another hike, I'm feeling more like a mani-pedi or massage for a different kind of centering. A busy hiking mom needs to remember to be a woman sometimes, too...