The mini mountains that cover half of Canada is officially known as the Canadian Shield and it is at my grasp a mere one and a half hours away from where I live. The Canadian Shield once had jagged peaks, as high as mountains, but millions of years of erosion have changed the mountains into rolling hills.
Traveling further east, the exposed Precambrian rock reaches high off the ground and creates towering cliffs around lakes. This is where I spent last weekend, immersed in the waters of Hawk Lake in Ontario. Nature in all of it’s forms is soothing for my soul. My body was kissed by the sun and my mind felt restored.
My daughter, who had been jumping in and out of the water off the dock, came to talk to me while I was seated on a docked boat, swaying with the tide. She expressed how much she is going to miss me and told me she does not want me to go on my hiking trip. I began to explain to her that our lives have layers, like the rock around us where we can see the different colours and textures. She was not in the mood for a metaphorical geology talk about life so I just held her close and told her I loved her.
We talked about the layers of life once again a few days later when she expressed that she did not want me to go and is going to miss me. My metaphor this time was the layers of an onion. Each part of my life is like a layer of an onion: mom, wife, hiker, and writer just to name a few. I need to honour each part of who I am to feel whole and I told her that as she continues to grow up, she too should honour the different layers of what makes her up.
“Mom, onions are gross. Can the layers of my life be a sushi roll with all the delicious toppings?”
YES! Yes, your life layers can be just like a sushi roll!
And so we talked about inspiring one another to live our best lives. She may be a kid but she has inspiration flowing from her. I told her that I am inspired by her perseverance during a running race and the joy she feels when she “walks the red carpet” at the finish line.
I told her that I want her to live her life with passion at the forefront and that she should do things that excite her, whatever it may be. “I know you might not understand right now but this hike is not just for me, it is for you as well. I want to show you that living out our hopes and dreams of who we are as individuals is very important. I want you to go on to do what makes you happy, whatever it is!”
She told me she understood and then started talking about sushi and how she is going to eat sushi with daddy every day that I am on the trail. I am pretty darn blessed to have an amazing family.
My search through nature has lead me to where I need to be and who I am meant to be. With little slivers of nature remaining in my life from my youth, nature fell into my lap when I began to search for ways to better manage my mental health. When I finally decided to stop laying down to depression and self-medicating with alcohol, the trail and all it offers wrapped me up and gave me a home away from home, under the stars.