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Shawn and I hiked up to Champney Falls this week to take in some spectacular fall foliage. As much as I might be tempted to complain about the traffic this time of year, I understand it. I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to come here to take in such beauty if you’re able to make the trip? The yearning for beauty and awe is universal.

I’ve been struggling this week with a lot of emotional ups and downs. A strong network of supportive loved ones and a disciplined self-care regimen have both been my rocks. An important part of my self-care is getting out into nature, and this hike was just what the doctor ordered – stunning to the eyes and easy on the body.

One of our favorite parts of the hike is a place that I call ‘the cavern’ (pictured above). It’s a destination for rock-, water-, and good acoustics-loving hikers. It’s so fun to sing in this spot, especially in the drier seasons when you’re not competing with the sounds of the falls!

On this particular day, at this particular hour, with the sun shining down into the cavern just so, a small rainbow would appear, then disappear, then reappear, changing with just about each step. I found myself not paying any attention to where I was stepping, only focused on keeping the rainbow in view. This choice ended up biting me in the butt shortly after, when my wet boots proved to be too slippery on some of the mossier rocks, almost falling at one point! And hey, that’s par for the course for me, a lifelong klutz. I’ve always joked about how ‘I am fine motor, not gross motor’, and my dad used to often jab me with, ‘We should’ve named you Grace, kid.’

In trying to hang onto beauty, I miss out on ways to tend to other needs, like safety. Everything is about balance, physically and mentally. Those little rainbows that bubble up here and there with each step are waiting, like last week’s roses, for the right conditions to appear. It can’t be forced, at least not without some imbalance.

And when they do appear, wow, is that special!

And then a cloud passes by and the sun is now behind that white pine and the rainbow is gone – for now. Until the next one appears, I’ll try to keep my boots dry.