Silent waters do run deep. And dirty. Sometimes.
When was the last time you really appreciated the simple joy of sitting down? Mine was after almost half a day on a waterfall hike in Laguna. I didn’t even bother cleaning the dirty makeshift bamboo bench. I looked at my hands, muddy. Forget the handkerchief. I just wiped it off on whatever tidy spot left on my shirt and shorts.
That morning, I was worrying about a lot of things. Writing deadlines. Stuff to do. Personal plans. Budget. Goals. Inexistential lovelife problems.
That afternoon, my mind was unbelievably clear.
Like, to hell with all these concerns! I just want to get the day over with. Go home. SLEEP.
And get a freakin’ 10hour whole body massage.
Lately, my mood had been getting darker than most days. Staring at thunderclouds of depression. Feeling the sharp gusts of thoughts of mortality. Helplessly despair as I look at the stars and realize how brief, how trivial we are— and how insignificant our limited time here will be across the infinity. And knowing these things make you lose perspective, lose motivation, lose hope. Things that are too hard to talk with anybody, because they don’t really understand or care. And so the thoughts grow deeper. And dirtier.
I needed to breathe. Fresh air. Fresh thoughts. Fresh freshness.
Well, guess what? Being surrounded by a mountain-ful of mud, without a mobile signal, and only a +5 agility wooden trail stick to compensate for your worthless grooved-shoes kinda reminds you about what’s really important.
Like actually surviving the hike. Without broken bones. Without getting a fever or cold from being wet the whole day. Without a leech or insect inside my underwear (yeah, I was paranoid about that one). Without ruining my only pair of decent rubber shoes left. Without getting an awkward tear on my shorts. And all these shallow but important thoughts.
Who cares about deadlines? I just wanted to stay alive, and live to tell about it.
Sometimes we do try too hard to find something deep, something more meaningful, purposeful than the things we do everyday. And it is with nature that we are reminded that often, the profound realizations are not always that complex or complicated.
That there are still beautiful things out there— I’m not talking about pretty hikers: like, when the sun suddenly breaks out its radiance in the middle of the rain and you stand in awe, tracing every ray and phosphene and simply bathe in the warmth of it all. Or when you suddenly hear the gurgling sound of a distant falls, and your heartbeat joins that joyful melody of the rushing water and chorus of the unseen creatures of the wild. Or when you reach a certain spot, and see the trail you’ve passed— and you think, wow, that didn’t look so hard after all, but you know it wasn’t that simple, yet you rejoice inwardly because you conquered it, overcame it with your muddy hands and your muddy feet.
But I guess the most beautiful thing about nature is that it draws out the real bond between friends and family— of hands extended when help is needed; of voices guiding to warn and to offer relief; of ears eager, expected of encouragement and cheer; of muddy-crusted feet shuffling together through the slippery trail and the tricky pathways; of eyes looking out for one another.
It makes me realize that no matter where we all came from, no matter how diverse our backgrounds or troubles are— when faced with nature, we are all the same: a baptism of mud proving that we are all equals. And there’s no point in comparing who’s the muddiest of all.
I guess what I’m driving at is that there are deep memories in shallow moments, deep thoughts even in shallow-minded people, deep lessons even from shallow reminders. And that no matter how deep our problems become someday, just keep moving along the way, because God will guide you to a shallow spot that you can safely cross.