My mom used to tell people, “If someone gave Lisa a brown paper bag filled with dog poop, she’d still say thank you and mean it.” She was right.
Rambling on a new trail on Thanksgiving Day, I was thinking about the simple things I’m grateful for. I am constantly aware of how lucky I am to live in the San Francisco Bay Area—a hodgepodge of urban centers intermeshed with stunning natural beauty in every direction.
My house is small, but I am surrounded by treasures. I live one block from Golden Gate Park, and a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean. A short drive north over the Golden Gate Bridge leads to the iconic beauty of Marin. A brief drive south brings access to breathtaking beaches and deep forest trails. There is also plenty of inspiring nature across the bay to the east.
I think I would appreciate local beauty any place I lived. I felt gratitude for my Upstate New York stomping grounds as a kid, and for the ancient magic of Kyoto, Japan where I lived in my twenties.
Gratitude is something we can learn to apply to our current reality, rather than always reaching for something other.
Not everyone has a car to get to the places I write about. I am grateful for my beat-up old Honda.
Not everyone has the physical ability to move around with ease. I am grateful for a body that still moves me along a trail despite arthritis in my feet.
Not everyone has loved ones nearby. I recently lost both parents, but am grateful for family and friends, for kind strangers I meet in everyday life, and for the connections I’ve made in the disabilities and nature fields through HikingAutism.com.
May we all acknowledge the simple things that bring us joy, remembering to appreciate what we have rather than be preoccupied with what we don’t have.
Thank you to gracious readers who continue to walk with me on HikingAutism.com!
This week’s Hike Notes, Nora Trail-West Point Inn Connector, takes readers down the half-mile switchback connector trail that is part of a loop hike between Bootjack Campground and West Point Inn on Mt. Tam (covered in three separate posts).
(Photo note: The photo for most Insights posts are from the hike covered in the Hike Notes they’re paired with. This photo, however, was taken at Windy Hill Open Space Preserve on Thanksgiving Day, which inspired thoughts for the post.)
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New this week:
Hike Notes 193: Nora Trail-West Point Inn Connector
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.