Solstice and Mount Tzouhalem

Oh, the things I could tell you about the past 24 hours! How much time do you have?

I’ll start with the obvious – the photos on this page: taken today hiking up the Awesome Trail on Mount Tzouhalem with Val. It was – well – awesome!. It was warm and the sun came out in the afternoon, Abby kept up with us the entire 5 hours and was still feeling spry when we got home! Yay!

We had a lovely time.

And now we’ll back up to yesterday evening. I drove to the Bethlehem Retreat Cetnre because I wanted the experience of walking the labyrinth by candlelight. And it was lovely. I arrived at about 5 p.m. – they were lighting the last of the candles along the paths. It was dark. I was the only one there except for those setting up.

Wonderful. I was about to have a mystical experience. The labyrinth walk represents your life: you take the path to the centre of yourself (of the labyrinth) and then back out into the rest of your life. A perfect thing to do on Solstice.

So – this walk represents my life, I thought as I began on the path. But it was dark, and I couldn’t really figure out how the candles were working to guide me – so I walked around for a while until I was totally muddled, went back to the beginning and said to a volunteer, “I give up. I can’t figure this out!”

“I’ll guide you through the first bit until you feel confident to do it on your own,” she said.

“Excellent! Thanks!” I said (are you getting the metaphor here? Not too deep….)

And so she did that and I figured out how it goes and I walked it to the centre where I stopped for a brief meditation – then onwards: time to go back out and to the entrance again.

This should have taken perhaps 10 minutes. I walked and I walked until I realized I was retracing my steps over and over again – and I circled backwards and forwards and around and things got terribly convoluted and finally – near the entrance – on the same path I’d been on a dozen times, I finally said “Fuck it!” I stepped over the candles and left the labyrinth.

Yup – there it is – my life. Ha!

And then I came home and went to bed after dinner and talking to Simon. It was blessedly quiet – no little rat feet running around. Ah! Peace!

I woke up at about 3 a.m. Snap! Uh oh – that was the sound of a rat trap snapping shut! A bit more noise. A struggle? Then all was still. Okay, I said to myself – I have a dead rat. That’s okay. I will dispose of it in the morning.

Morning came. I ate breakfast. And then I donned kitchen gloves and shone my flashlight into the tiny crawl area. And there it was: the rat. In the trap! Breathing!

Yes, I freaked out. I could have handled a dead rat. But this creature was alive and suffering and my heart raced so hard it almost fell out of my chest. I could NOT bring myself to touch it. What if I hurt it even more?

I called Paul. “Help!”

Paul had the good grace not to laugh out loud at me but I could tell he was amused. He told me to go ahead and go hiking – he would handle it. He did. When I got home, the rat was absent and the trap re-set.

But it took hours for that feeling of pain to go away. Not even a rat deserves to die like that. And I found it hard to forgive myself for two things: causing that suffering and then not having the courage to do something about it.

And now my heart is racing again because I want to get a text from Simon saying he has arrived at Horseshoe Bay safely and navigated the passes. I heard from him at lunch time when he had made it to Osoyoos. He’s the best driver in the world. I’m sure he’s fine.

But I worry because I care.

There. Don’t say I didn’t warn you that this would be a lengthy post.

Whew!

Last but not least: tomorrow the day will be 4 seconds longer than today. Now there’s something to celebrate!

About goodyniosi

Writer, avid(!!!) hiker - living life to the fullest. Love, life, bliss - getting high on getting high (in the alpine that is)
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