I'm going on a hike.
Apologies to everyone who might have ever thought, "I wish she'd take a hike", this is not your just reward! I'm going on a Gratitude Hike. A hike that is sure to be a wonderful experience on many levels. Already I've been motivated to walk more, and I think the rewards intellectually and spiritually will be too many to count. I'm already becoming friends with, and enjoying the companionship of, people I've yet to meet in person.
The hike is a product of the way one man thinks. Tom Ryan, the author of Following Atticus, decided to thank his fans and supporters by inviting a limited number to his beloved White Mountains of New Hampshire. Once there, we will gather together and embark on a day hike with Tom and his friend Atticus (who happens to be a wise old soul residing in the body of a small Schnauzer). This is a break from their normal preference of hiking alone and at times they know the trails will not be crowded - like in winter- at night. Shiver! Let me say now (and perhaps I should add, emphatically), I'm glad that's not the hike I'll be on!
Our hike is taking place October 5th, in the height of fall foliage season. Yes, it might be a little cooler than I am accustomed to, having lived in south Texas, lo, these 20 something years. Long underwear is ready to go! To say I'm giddy with excitement seems a silly understatement. I love having something to look forward to, especially a trip. And this trip... this has so many facets to it that it is hard to stop thinking about the things to look forward to long enough to have other thoughts!
When Tom Ryan posted on the Following Atticus Face Book page about selecting people to go hiking with him and Atticus it was to thank everyone for showing them love and support on facebook, on his blog and in person. That sounds pretty nice doesn't it? A man, full of gratitude, doing something nice. And he dubbed it the Gratitude Hike. I was in Ruidoso, NM when I saw the post. I thought, "Wow, I'd love to do that. Wonder if I could work it out with the kids schedules and everything?" I intended to watch and see what details would be posted about how to enter to be considered. But, I was in the mountains, with my kids and dogs, in a place I love and where I have friends. We had things to do. So I didn't follow closely enough. I missed the post. A few days went by and I drove the ten hours home with two kids and one three legged dog and one old blind dog. Lying in bed that night I saw that a couple of names had already been announced and I was dissappointed. I admit to thinking, "I wish I could have been chosen." But I didn't even get a chance to enter. And it was a pie in the sky kind of disappointment anyway. Like... "Man, I wish Richard Gere would have asked me out when I was single." So, just like I don't mourn daily that Richard has yet to call, I pretty much accepted that I would live with my loss and kept reading the posts I'd missed. Tom had written a funny one that made me chuckle and I commented on it. And then... what to my wondering eyes should appear? (Yeah, I steal good lines. I'm lazy like that.) A new comment from Tom, with my name in it! He said they had received some e-mail entries and he was hoping that I had entered. Oh-em-gee! He was talking to me personally! Well, on facebook, but still, I was being addressed. When I said I had intended to and asked if it was too late to enter he told me no. They were still selecting. My fingers could not type fast enough getting that e-mail out! And as we all now know, I was selected to join the group. Me! I was chosen. Someone saw me. I honestly woke up one morning and had to tell myself it was not a dream.
I felt oddly confident. It seemed I had somehow stood out from the crowd, but in a good way. I was not the last one chosen for dodgeball this time!
The gratitude I have felt since finding out I get to participate in this has been a part of every day. I know my fellow hikers have all mentioned how thankful they are to be a part of it as well. It truly is a well named Gratitude Hike. And, as with most generous and amazing things, it grows and flows with blurred edges until it becomes a circle of giving and receiving that spreads out but never truly goes away.