As I turn the calendar to September, I realize that Ann and I have celebrated summer in six countries this year. Celebrated is the right word—for we love the long light and barefoot days, the sense that at the end of the “work day” there are still hours and hours of daylight to play in.
This year that has meant, walking the Medicine Wheel with twilight prayers for the questers on the mountain during our annual vision fast in Eastern Washington; strolling through the woods of the Taunus next to our conference center near Frankfurt, Germany; hiking all day and then watching hours of alpine glow on the snow covered peaks of the Eiger, the Munch, and the Jungfrau in Murren, Switzerland; getting up early to hike to the view over the Slovenia hill country northeast of Ljubljana; bicycling through vineyards in the slanted light of day’s end along the Croatian coast; a week with our children and grandchildren in coastal British Columbia… and finally, home again to the gardens, the beach, weeks of tending to this little plot of earth we get to love. Dirty fingernails and old clothes, catching up with a few friends, the late summer Circle Practicum and culminating with an Advanced Circle Practices group that will gather on Whidbey mid-month—bringing us right to the Autumn Equinox.
Quite a trail…and while hiking the latest stretch—a 6+ mile tree-line ramble in the Mount Baker wilderness area on last week’s camping trip, I found myself reminiscing about the pace of life I find myself attempting at 67 years old.
A friend says, “A lot of people your age are retired, you know…”
I laugh and say, “I’m not the retiring type.”
Under the banter I’m seeking words to explain what I mean. I feel my aging, and celebrate that I am able to hike over rockslides with a view at the top of the Cascades Mountains. I let go of tracking certain aspects of pop culture while struggling to discern what I need to keep tracking. I accept leadership younger than myself. I practice focusing around the question: what is mine to do now? I seek to complete the task I said “yes” to: to plant the circle firmly into the world, to carry the story, to love the Earth. My goal remains to enable myself and others to live somehow differently in the midst of unraveling circumstances. My work is to inspire us to be our best selves, and then to act our best selves. And to use our full capacities to stand for what we believe.
This is the trail I’m on. This is the never-ending trail. It offers the long-view, and the hope of spiritual replenishment along the way. I am honored to be hiking–and in great company.