It was a mild Father's Day. A crisp chill in the air at the trailhead at Cameron Lake. A lovely shoreline trail in historic Watertown National Park. It's a short hike, 4 km out and back.
We rounded the corner and were just entering the canopy when a couple walking towards us greeted us with
"It's really muddy. "
"Turn back now. "
"It only gets worse."
We smiled, nodded and carried on.
As we entered the canopy of trees, we were greeted with the fresh fragrance of the pine forest. I could feel the cares of life slip away as we trundled along the shoreline trail. The wildflowers were just beginning to burst, along with thick patches of moss, lichen and ferns. Bird song, a gentle breeze and the trickles and rush of the several waterfalls provided the soundtrack for our trek.
Oh, yeah. About the mud. Sure there were some patches, but most was easily by-passable, and the rest, well, our kicks got a little muddy.
They weren't lying. There were some muddy spots, but if we had heeded their warning, we would have missed the amazing display. We would have missed the joy of discovery and the soul-soothing experiences along the way.
Life can be muddy.
I mean, the kind of life that is full of wonder, beauty and adventure can be muddy. To enter this life means we must enter it deeply, along with its mud and mosquitos.
Sure, it was gorgeous scenery from the parking lot. Yeah, it was paved. You weren't going to get your shoes dirty. There was a great path to the lake to take your picture of the glacier, but there is so much more to Cameron Lake that you can't see, hear, feel, or experience from the parking lot.
So it is with life. So many live life from the ease, comfort and clean shoe preserving parking lot. We pause to take that selfie for our social media, and then we are on to the next parking lot. What the parking lot selfies can never capture is the richness of experience with someone or something. This experience helps us profoundly know another, to get some sort of subjectivity that is only experienced when we immerse ourselves in life. This means we're going encounter and deal with some mud - ours and that of others.
Mud washes off.
We can deal with the bumps, bruises, and heartbreaks. Sometimes we need a little help to deal with this kind of mud, but there is a new life to discover even in this.
If we had turned back, we would have missed out on a splendid experience: the intoxicating fragrance, the splendour of the flowers, moss, lichen and ferns. The shade of the trees, sounds of birds overhead, the wind singing through the trees and trickles and torrents of little waterfalls - all were contributing to a surround sound experience of the most genuine kind. We would have missed out on this adventure that we shared together as a family.
I suppose we could've turned back.
At least we'd have clean shoes this morning.