One of the most healing activities for me is a hike in the woods with my camera in hand. The hike and woods are in an of themselves a blessing. When I add the camera it gives me pause… quite literally. Having to stop and consider things through my viewfinder makes me pause, look, compose, take in the shadows and shafts of light, and increases my sense of wonder.
I’ve come to calling these outings “Photo Walkabouts”, a form of meditation that has been one of the only ones that works for me. It never fails that after a couple of hours on a trail, snapping photos, I feel so much healthier at the end of the trail than when I started. Lungs filled with air, good air, sweet air. Brain focused on the Truth I’ve just lingered in. Refocusing happens and my hope in many things rekindled.
Yesterday I chose to hike a path in the Gatineau Hills, a park very familiar to me just across the river in Quebec. I’ve hiked many of the paths in those hills but never hiked this particular path, invitingly named “Skyline”. I decided before setting out that this Photo Walkabout would be centered on the Little things along the trail. I’ve learned often that the Little things contain a lot of the Big things needed to make life sane and beautiful. So I trained my camera on the mini-things that caught my attention. Of course, I didn’t do that exclusively. When I hike I am always amazed at the fact that I am literally surrounded by beauty, above me, before me, beside me, beneath me, behind me.
There is no way in photos I can convey how the atmosphere felt in the woods or the sound of water caressing rocks all along the path. I cannot convey through photos the depth of green, the lushness of the forest, the way it breathes. But I wanted to share with you what I can here in this space. Hopefully, if you are feeling as I have been – disenchanted, disillusioned, and not a little disgusted at your world – I can inspire you to get out in the beautiful part of your world, to breathe deeply of the richness there, and to be refreshed.