Sunday, June 12, 2011

Discoveries at Texas Beach

Yesterday I realized something pretty profound about myself.

I don't hate the outdoors, after all.

Being a minimalist, one might think, "Obviously, she likes the outdoors." Hello, Henry Thoreau? Walden? Nope. When I was a little girl, I had several negative Girl Scout camping and hiking experiences that have lead me to believe in my adult life that I dislike outdoorsy activities (with the exception of things involving water and and lounging, of course). I kind of like skiing, but not really. Playing in the snow has always been cool with me. But hiking? Camping? Being in the woods? No way!

I've always disliked this aspect of myself, because everyone I enjoy spending time with seems to like the outdoors. After yesterday, I realize I do too. I finally understand the draw.

It all started last week when I was meeting up with my friend Chase at Texas Beach. It was a crowded, sunny day and he had hiked pretty far through the woods to find a good rock without lots of people. I was so intimidated by the rocks I had to scale, and various precipices I had to maneuver. I found myself pouting out loud at several points during the hike. During our trip back, I slowly became more confident in my abilities and began to enjoy leaping from rock to rock and loved the feeling of success from conquering the landscape. It reminded me of my days as a gymnast way back when.

Yesterday sealed the deal. Another friend, Alida, and I hiked out to that very same spot (no whining this time). Chase, fellow blogger Em Smith and our friend Dan met up with us. After a few hours, we were thinking about leaving when a somewhat sudden rainstorm blew through. We quickly packed up our things and raced back to shore. In the past, I would have been very uncomfortable getting wet. Yesterday, I just let go and embraced it. It was an amazing, liberating feeling like that of being a kid again. I raced ahead of our group and leaped from rock to rock and across tree roots with agility. It felt like we were in some kind of tropical rain forest.

The key to my most recent discovery was letting go of certain self-perceptions. We're all capable of a lot more than we think. Once I decided I could enjoy the outdoors, I did.

Kristen Ziegler

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