So Close and Yet So Far
Have you ever had something right in front of you—a place you want to go, something you want to say, an activity you want to try—that you can’t get past some barrier to get to?
We see a new phase in our future—a change in our occupation, relationships, doing something for our own care instead of just others—but can’t get through the few steps to get there.
In a more literal sense, a person in a wheelchair or someone with balance and mobility issues may see a small rise at a doorway like a moat they can’t cross.
For people on the autism spectrum, even incremental moves forward can be blocked by invisible obstacles. Sensory overload and anxiety can make simple things feel impossible.
When our severely autistic son was little, things that seemed so easy for other children were out of reach. Trying a new food. Crossing the threshold to any new space. Even getting out of the car to set foot in an unfamiliar location. On a really bad day, even familiar places held some secret barrier to participation.
Any of us can feel this way at some level. I have a hundred locations in my head that I’d like to add to my Hikes list, but getting past the little voice in my head saying “maybe not today” to explore a new place is a challenge.
Standing at the north edge of San Francisco, I see a charming set of red roofs behind a cove right across the Golden Gate Bridge. A late night map app check tells me that with no traffic, it’s a mere 16 minutes to reach Fort Baker, part of our beloved Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It would take less time to scoot across the bridge and visit that little cove than it takes to drive downtown and find parking for a dentist visit.
And yet the standard nagging questions—Are there bathrooms? What about parking? Isn’t it too crowded to get to on weekends?—shift us from an attempt to visit a new place to a more familiar family outing.
In those “so near and yet so far” situations, at some point we have to push ourselves past that last hurdle and decide to move forward, come what may. Though it pales compared to other life issues, it felt good to decide firmly to face potential problems and head across the bridge on a sunny weekend day.
The traffic, bathrooms and parking questions were resolved, and all those mental blocks seemed silly once we arrived and enjoyed walking around the little cove at Fort Baker, looking back toward the San Francisco skyline.
The dreamy looking place across the waters of the Golden Gate that felt like a million miles away now feels like an easy destination where we can take guests for a pleasant walk. Sometimes we just have to pick up our feet, step forward, and be ready to roll with the punches.
Though it is harder with bigger life challenges that make nearby goals feel unreachable, we tap into the same problem solving skills and determination to get where we want to go. Keep putting one foot forward, even if it’s a small step.
This week’s Hike Notes, Fort Baker, takes visitors to the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge to historic Fort Baker which offers iconic views back to the San Francisco skyline from a cozy cove by a fishing pier, marina, and historic military sites.
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. Follow on Twitter at @HikingAutism
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Hike Notes 126: Fort Baker
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.