Moving by Instinct
The longer shelter in place goes, the harder to remember what day of the week it is, much less have a sense of the direction we’re going, whether big picture or small.
Concentrating on familiar tasks takes more time and effort than normal. Uncertainty about disease and social unrest has the world feeling discombobulated.
The need for routine, engagement in facilitated activities, and interaction with familiar people and places makes this an especially tough time for people like my son on the autism spectrum.
Trying to complete work projects despite my son’s need for 24/7 supervision is hard (he’s edgy enough that we hear him ambling around the house rearranging objects at 2 AM), but daily walk breaks with him are a highlight.
Some old favorite areas are opening up. This week we found ourselves at a site that has a return loop option through a vague, faded patchwork of paths. For some reason, we hadn’t taken those hard-to-see back trails in a couple of years.
For some on the autism spectrum, processing information in language, and executive functioning skills that require thinking in strategic layers, are not strong points. Our son often relies on instincts—or whatever name you choose for sensibilities that go beyond the standard five senses—as well as exceptional visual and sound memory. The upside is that he remembers where the car is parked better than we do sometimes. The downside is that the “fight or flight” instinct operates on a hairpin trigger.
Our last walk on those back paths being so long ago, I decided to let Sean lead the way back, watching to see if he’d take the easy direct return trail, or the meandering, obscure paths most people would have no idea to look for.
He headed toward the hard-to-find paths. Staying silent (an accomplishment for me), I let him walk a few yards ahead. Silently and steadily, he navigated every turn correctly, naturally finding a key spot that even I miss sometimes.
Watching him cut through the brush to instinctively, confidently wend his way back to the trailhead, I felt an unexpected sense of pride. That’s MY son, moving by instinct on hidden trails.
Despite the foggy confusion, our underlying instincts are still here. A quiet walk on a back path helps us tap into ours. May you find opportunities to recognize your own instinctive abilities.
This week’s Hike Notes are from the archives, Rockaway Beach via Calera Creek Path. This mostly paved walk leads to stunning views from Pacifica’s Rockaway Beach, with the opportunity to be a little more adventurous on the return trip.
The long list of Hikes can be found on the Quick View Hike List and on the main Hikes page. All past Insights posts can also be viewed in the Insights/Hike Update News archives.
Check the Home page for the broader background story. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photo galleries at the bottom of each hike page! Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Please feel free to share.
This week’s Hike Notes from the Archives:
(Original Hike Notes 44): Rockaway Beach via Calera Creek Path
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.