My husband and I had an opportunity to fly out to Denver for a weekend to attend a church conference. Being the outdoorsmen that we are, we just could not pass up an opportunity during our free time to do some hiking - one of our favorite outdoor activities.
We took a short drive up to Boulder and found a highly-trafficked yet challenging hike in Chatauqua Park. With numerous trails to choose from, we picked one and headed up the mountain. Now mind you, we are avid hikers but we are also "flat-landers" from Missouri. The highest elevation we have available near us to hike is south of the state line in Arkansas. We have hiked in Colorado numerous times in the past several years, but there is definitely a period of acclimation that is required for your lungs to adjust to the thinner air.
As we made our way up the mountain, the elevation gain began almost immediately. We knew rather quickly that this would be a challenge but we were up for it. About half way up the mountain, my husband looked at me and said, "I'm done". He was post-op his knee surgery only three weeks ago. He had a torn meniscus repaired. I knew he would be pushing his limits on this hike because he'd been experiencing swelling in his leg every day since the surgery. Although it had improved over the last week, I knew we would not be able to climb to our normal tolerance levels.
We turned around on the trail and made our descent. The hike down was effortless compared to the hike up the trail. We made our way down the mountain to the final leg of the hike. As we neared the end, we walked through a small flat spot where there was this large patch of tall wild flowers. As soon as I walked up to them, instantly the fragrance hit me. It was intoxicating. At first, I could not put my finger on the familiar scent but the more I thought about it, I was reminded of memories in my youth. Of the hot summer days which were often cooled with a glass of ice-cold grape Kool-aid. Yep! That was the smell.
You remember, right? Playing outside with the neighborhood kids on a hot summer day. Your mom calls you in for a break and pours you a welcomed cold beverage. Grape Kool-aid. I can still feel and taste those moments. As I stood at the foot of this mountain trail, gazing up at the mountains across the valley, I was instantly transported back to summer-time living in my old neighborhood and the fun we used to have riding bikes, play kick-ball and volleyball and swimming in the backyard pool.
Do you have those moments too? A smell. Maybe a song. Or a movie. Some memory that triggers in an instant and pulls you from the present right back to that very point in time. Sometimes those memories are fond. Others are reminders of a painful past. Hopefully, more happy memories than sad.
Today, I want to encourage you to look for moments to stop and smell the flowers. It is Spring. Finally! The flowers are growing. The birds are singing. The bees are buzzing. New life that Spring brings is here. Let this season be a reminder to you that though the old is gone, the new is coming. Those memories of old may be happy or may even be sad. Whatever they may be, remember them and be thankful for the experience. For experience has brought you to where you are today.
So the next time you pass by a flower, take the time to stop and breathe in the aroma. It may just remind you of a sweet memory that you cherish.