It’s day 2 or 3 of my vacation on Yosemite – an unexpected blessing losing track of the days. With 200% of their normal rainfall this year, the waterfalls of Yosemite Valley are spectacular. So of course we had to hit the trails and explore. Hiking with my 24-year-old was an adventure in itself. I was reminded of a line from an old Little Feat song about “…when your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fill.” My mind remembered hiking with 8 and 12-year-old boys in tow, taking it easy on them (“are we there yet?”). My body was fully aware that I was now the one in tow.
I love to hike and explore, and I thought we chose trails that weren’t too steep. But with thin mountain air and thick belly bulges the many changes in elevation made themselves clearly known. Each time I wondered what I was thinking traipsing up these inclines, but one thing kept me going: commitment. I wasn’t about to quit half way. Certainly, I wasn’t about to have my son leave the old man behind. I was definitely committed to completing the trail and enjoying every wondrous step. Commitment kept me going.
The saying goes that it’s about the journey, not the destination. Tell that to a businessperson and they roll their eyes. Results do matter. There is a destination. Even my hikes had a destination; but always there is both. I suggest that we ignore either one at our peril and discover the fortunes of keeping an eye on both.
On one of our hikes we quickly came to a fork. One side was paved, the other not, but the latter had a sign pointing to our destination. A group before us took the road more traveled and went with the paved path. We figured we’d take the road less traveled. Besides, the sign pointed to the correct destination and the trail looked much more interesting. And so it was.
Despite the many piles of horse dung along the way (sounds like many a leader’s path so far) it was certainly a wonderful trail. Beautiful views of the river flowing down from Mirror Lake, the remnants of a huge rock slide that years ago cut this loop trail in half and occasional views of our trail mates on the other side of the river. We even came across some outcroppings that were “air conditioned” from some subterranean source.
We arrived at the “other side” of our destination to discover we had been on the horse trail. Those people cavorting on the beaches on the other side were a short walk away, through ice cold water that made your toes choose between numb and senseless pain.
A fellow traveler oriented us and suggested that the views of Half Dome and the canyon walls would be better on the other side (hence the road more travelled) and the water wasn’t too deep to cross (she neglected to mention the temperature, but that took no time to discover). We crossed knee deep to the next piece of land and appreciated the spectacular perspective.
We also discovered that we were only halfway across and the rest of the way would immerse us more than we bargained for. So we crossed back through the frigid waters.
Commitment to the destination had us traverse horse dung, boulders and frigid waters. Also, we were not attached to that commitment to arrive at a particular destination such that we lacked appreciation of where we had been. Our commitment to the journey had us enjoy every facet, including being on “the wrong path.” Commitment had me endure the uphills and stop and look around me rather than ask, “are we there yet?”
Do you see possibilities on your horizon that require a level of commitment you are uncertain about making?
What is moving you to go one way or the other?
Share your reflections on this inquiry – you might discover a breakthrough.