"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." So said Henry David Thoreau a few years back.
I tried striking out to the woods, the mountains, today. And after spending an hour or so stuck in traffic, I finally made it there. I went to the woods to re-discover the discipline of solitude. This mountain is terrific for hiking, for views, and for quiet -- it's great for meditating on God's natural revelation and for contemplating your life in its shadow. But I went with four small children with me. Then you go to the woods because you're shy a few bricks or short a few marbles. Stupid even comes to mind. I had to carry the 1-year-old boy on my shoulders, because, believe it or not, a stroller isn't really that handy for hiking. And 25 pounds is a load to carry after a while, regardless of what those manly men are capable of in the movies. #3-Girl had on adult flip-flops, which she had to wear. (I don't make it a practice to argue too much with my two-year-old. Everyone loses.) So I had to hold her hand at the same time as carrying the boy as we trudged up one rock and down another. It was a hot day. And I'm not, how shall we say, quite ready for this year's Iron Man competition. It was a difficult day.
I did not find solitude on the mountain. I did, however, realize that time with family, as rough as it can be, is pretty grand. I got some pictures of the kids sitting on some rocks, standing with a beautiful mountain behind them, and standing in front of some gorgeous purple rhododendron. And in spite of how tiring the trip was, maybe because of how tiring the trip was, these are the memories that I earned. It was a good day.