Around the Bend
We recently revisited a trail in Pacifica on which deer, rabbits and California quail invariably make an appearance. We never know exactly when we’ll spot quail families skittering through a field, rabbits nibbling plants along the bushes, or deer grazing at the edge of a field, but they always appear at some point.
Until they don’t. Our recent hike started with a surprise when we saw a group of hikers staring at the flat grass near the edge of the trail. “Snake!” they said when we looked questioningly. “A big one.”
A short way on, we saw several quail families feeding in the pale, dry grass. When we got to the stretch of trail with thicker brush at the sides, we started seeing rabbits. “As expected!” I said, happy to see noses and ears wiggling.
The deer defied expectations and never emerged. Snakes, on the other hand, surprised us more than once as they slithered close to the edge of the trail.
Life is a process of mediating between expectations and reality, on small scales like the animals we hope to see on a hike, and on bigger scales like achievement goals and life dreams.
That does not always mean the negative twist of having high expectations and being disappointed. We sometimes expect the worst and are surprised by things turning out well. Either case involves an emotional rollercoaster.
What if we modify the qualitative “good versus bad” view of our expectations? What if we look at that next bend in the trail, simply open our minds to whatever we might see, and don’t put a positive or negative label on it?
We expected to see deer on our trail but saw snakes instead. It was interesting, and we learned something new about animal life in that area.
May the turns in our paths expand our horizons. Keep putting one foot forward!
This week’s Hike Notes, San Pedro Valley Park-Weiler Ranch Road Trail, leads walkers on a mile-in-mile-out path that is fairly flat, and offers a high probability of seeing wildlife.
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Hike Notes 162: San Pedro Valley Park-Weiler Ranch Road Trail
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