Yesterday, I was feeling a bit isolated and lonely. My neighbor had gone out to enjoy an event, my friends were all busy with loved ones and activities like birthday parties, wedding showers, BBQ’s. Everyone I knew had someone. Everyone had siblings, children, grandchildren, partners, uncles, aunts…family. I had nothing. I had no one.
After several hours of trying to shake this feeling off and get on with my day, I gave up, got in my car and headed for the nearby mountain top. Arriving there, I locked the car in the parking lot and walked, downcast, along the jaw dropping sheer rock cliff where an ancient trail danced among the stones and wildflowers. Trying to block out the occasional laughing couples and joking families hiking there, I pressed on…intent on finding a place of solitude to nurse my spiritual wound of loneliness.
After about thirty minutes or so of hiking off trail, I found it. It was a rock, sitting far out on a ledge on the edge of the sheer cliff with no support underneath it. If there was an earthquake, that rock would be the first to go! The drop off was probably three quarters of a mile from rocky bottom. Perfect! I scrambled out onto the ledge and lowered myself into a sitting position on the rock with my feet dangling carelessly in the air.
Leaning back against the sun heated stone behind me, I relaxed and began to truly enjoy the view before me. It was breathtaking…the huge towers of stone with the tall green pines to the right and left…the deep, vast semi-circle bowl before me with all that was below, and all that was to be seen on the distant horizon. My eyes were level with some drifting clouds of shining silver; and the deep blue sky beckoned me with calming allure. For some moments, I imagined myself standing and launching from my rocky perch, and with arms stretched to either side, flying outward and downward into the peaceful abyss.
Knowing this was something I would not do, I finally re-directed my thoughts, concentrated on my breathing and focused inwardly while connecting my spirit with all around me. After meditating for about 20 minutes, I slowly brought myself back into the present. Looking around me, I realized that ‘this’ was my family. The ancient stone cliffs surrounding me was my grandfather Rock, the clouds my aunts, the tall green pine trees whispering nearby were my distant cousins, as were the ants crawling by my leg and the wildflowers blooming in the rocky crevice.
I gave a deep sigh of contentment, arose, and began meandering back in a different direction, through the dense thick forest of pine and fir trees. The distant call of a crow was the only sound as I made my way silently along a narrow path. And yet, as I walked, I heard the other voices around me…the voice from the tree nearest to me, and the tree next to that one, and the tree at the bend in the path. With one voice they spoke. I heard them, and so I listened to what they told me.
Smiling to myself, I realized that I did have wonderful family members to talk to, to listen to, to cry upon their shoulders or weep in their arms. I realized that I could confide my deepest, darkest secrets to them, share my happiness and sorrows without judgement. Lifting my face to the warmth of the sun, I could feel the healing presence and the warmth of my family’s’ love all around me, within me. As I passed through the beautiful forest of trees, I realized that my family was always there for me with unconditional love.
Dropping down into a little gully, the heavy aromatic scent of the dark moist soil greeted me in the warm stillness of the spring air. Stopping, I closed my eyes and listened to the slight wind through the branches surrounding me. The soft rustle whispered in my ear and I was reminded of the past, told of the future and grounded in the present. ‘This’ was my family. I had been gone far too long, but had finally come back home.
Opening my eyes I continued on, cresting a hill and stepped once again, back into the sunshine. There, in a beautiful panoramic meadow teaming with grass, wildflowers, insects and birds, I paused for several long minutes…savoring that beautiful feeling of togetherness that only our family and friends can bring to our lives. With one last sigh of contentment I headed back to my car…shielded and cloaked in the peaceful protective embrace of family love.
As I drove slowly down the mountain enjoying the strength and splendor of the tall pines standing guard along the dark pavement, I realized that my family is always there for me. They are just a short walk, a drive, a glance, a conversation away. Squaring my shoulders, I pulled onto the city highway back towards town, knowing that I would continue to walk tall into my future…knowing that I was never truly alone.