I’m not a football fan, so I spent last Sunday afternoon on a 2-hour hike in Ahmanson Ranch in Agoura Hills about 13 miles west of where I live. I’ve hiked here often, and hiked this particular trail once before, so I when I felt the pull to find a place where I would be able to enjoy the solitude of the area and use the time to reflect, even do some healing of my soul, this was an easy pick.
The trail starts just north of a busy freeway, but is around a hill, so there’s no noise from it on the trail, and it winds quickly up a hill to afford nice views of the surrounding hills and spectacular homes on some of them.
Here’s a photo of one I got when I hiked through them a couple of weeks ago:
As I parked my car, and took out my camera, it occurred to me that I could make this hike a creative meditation, and study what I saw a bit with the photos I would take, each stop affording a new point of consideration and observation.
Right at the trailhead is a home with a fairly large stable for horses. I’m not a horse aficionado, and have never even ridden one, but they always strike me with their size and power, and with a peace that they have about them. There is a purity and honesty in their demeanor, and they inspire a peacefulness around them.
I like to find ways to construct photos with foreground and background. This gives it depth and perspective. This one also reminds me of life’s journey in that we have things we struggle through now (dead mustard), that are in the foreground, to get to the open spaces beyond.
This tree represents the old wounds in my life, now surrounded by the dead grasses of winter, but soon to be enveloped and grown over by the abundant new growth of spring. The tree is also set apart from the magnificent homes in the distance, as the old pain is disconnected from the wealth of possibilities in the future.
THE BIG PICTURE
Finding places with spreading vistas is one of my greatest joys in hiking. The bigness of where we are brings to mind how small my problems are and how much there is to enjoy and see no matter what. Blessings: counted.
LIGHT & SHADOW
These two photos of the road I walked are not far apart, but one is light and one is in shadow. So often our lives take quickly back and forth between places of ease and joy and places of confusion and despair. It’s all the same road and one never knows what’s around the corner.
LIFE & DEATH
So often in our high desert terrain we see foliage like this: both the old dead plants and the new growth entwined in it and replacing it. The metaphor is profound, if you take time to look at it and think about it.
IN & OUT
Well… what goes in, must come out, and this captures both elements in juxtaposition. Ha!
Of course, I always hear music. We are surrounded by it, even when the music is silence. The dead mustard sang in the wind as I walked today.
OK, I bought new hiking sticks! This is a great thing to celebrate. Now I have to USE them and get more exercise….
Until next week – cache on – and notice where you are…..
Addendum – 2/5/09
Oh, and here are the caches I found that day – no DNFs! – that made the meditation even better:
HALFWAY UP THE HILL
VIEW OF MALIBU CANYON APARTMENT HOMES
What a Dump! VIEW OF MOUNT CALABASAS
BEHIND THE ROCK