Standing on a Stone

On an unseasonably mild February day, I went hiking with a group of very-long-legged young people.

At one point the trail crossed over a small river. A large stream. Okay, it was some water. I stood at the edge of the water and sized up the situation. There were plenty of stones and small boulders. Enough for us to dryly navigate our way across. My very-long-legged friends quickly crossed over with ease.

I took a few tentative steps, and then I found myself frozen. Standing on a stone. Surrounded by water. The nearest rock was too small to support me, and covered in wet green algae. If I stepped to it, I certainly would’ve slipped. The sturdier looking stone was just a bit too far for a single step. To make it there, I would have to engage my entire core, bear down into one foot, and take a little leap of faith.

But I couldn’t engage. I couldn’t bear down. I couldn’t lift off. Frozen.

One of my fellow hikers walked back to me with a large stick. I used it to get some stability, and some courage. I pushed down into it and moved slowly and carefully across the stream/raging river of my mind.

Later, we came upon a waterfall. Once we climbed the adjacent stone steps to the top of the falls, we had to cross the water in order to continue on the trail. After a few carefully calculated steps, I found myself stuck again. In my head. Talking it through.

I know what I have to do. I know I can do it. I just can’t seem to do it. I know I can do it. I just have to trust that I can do it. Why are my feet frozen?

What is it? Distrust of the slippery stones? Distrust of my body? Fear of falling? Fear of failing? Fear of moving forward? All of that….

Just do it. Press into your left foot. Pick up your right foot. Step forward.

I took one steady step. And then three. And then I was across. So easily. It was really so easy. There was nothing to it.

I said something out loud when I got to solid ground. Something like ‘Duh! That was so easy. What was I afraid of? Why did I get stuck? What was I waiting for? Why was I so…’

This post is not about hiking, is it? No. No, not at all.

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