Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stopping to breathe

My life at work has been intense and stressful lately. I love my job, and I am happy to do the work I do, but with all the budget cuts, we are doing more with fewer people, and so sometimes I forget to take any time out for myself.

This morning I was powering along between one task and another on my computer, when this photo popped up on my desktop. (You really should click on it so it will be big, beautiful, and clear.)

Seeing the photo suddenly pop up again was like magic. I am certain that my heart rate and breathing rate slowed down. I felt myself taking deeper breaths.

I took this photo on the backpacking trip to Jefferson Park with Mark in August. It was a magical time. Mark was recovering from cancer surgery, and we were so, so, so happy to be out there together. The flowers, which were far more amazing than this photo conveys, really captured the glorious spirit of that outing.

As I sat here at my computer and just breathed for a few minutes, my eyes were drawn to the background of the photo. The flowers, so bright and lovely, would be just a bunch of wildflowers without the dark background of the firs. There is a sense of hidden mystery to that darkness. At the forefront, you can make out the shapes of the firs, but then it all recedes into black. Trials and difficulties in our lives are a lot like that, too. There is so much that is unknown. So much we have to take on faith.

We need contrast in our lives. Without the dark times, it would be more difficult to appreciate the light. The sadnesses and struggles throw joyful times into sharp relief. The hike into Jefferson Park would have been amazing in any season, but coming after Mark's cancer surgery and recuperation, it was pure, pure joy. My stressful days at work are countered by the intimacy of reading students' writing and watching them open their hearts.

So, to de-stress your morning, and to help you feel joy, I will share the hiking song I made up for myself while hiking into Jefferson Park. It goes to the tune of "I love the flowers, I love the daffodils, etc." You know the one with all the "Boom-dee-adda"s at the end. You are welcome to stop whatever you are doing right now, and sing along:

I love the rocky trails, I love the PCT,*
I love the skeeters,* gosh what's come over me?
I love adventuring with my one true love,
Boom-dee-adda, Boom-dee-adda, Boom-dee-adda, Boom-dee-adda.

I love the ridges, I love the gentle breeze,
I love the huckleberries, I love the Doug Fir trees,
I love the talus slopes with their views so grand,
Boom-dee-adda, Boom-dee-adda, Boom-dee-adda, Boom-dee-adda.

There, don't you feel better and less stressed now? I know I sure do.
*PCT = Pacific Crest Trail, *skeeters = mosquitos


Hillary said...

I love the song Mama K!!!! :)

Dorothy said...

I can just picture you and Mark strolling through the wildflowers, singing that song in a "Julie Andrews Style"! Nice way to de-stress, Kathy!

Kathy Haynie said...

Hah! I have a photo from that same hike that makes me think of The Sound of Music. I'll have to post it sometime.

Mark didn't sing it with me. I mostly kind of hummed it under my breath.

Annemarie said...

And I, the lover of singing, belted out this song in full volume as a tribute to my friend Kathy!