The other day the website was crashing and I was sitting there buried up to my ears in 502 errors (excuse the total tech talk) and wondering “wow, how are we going to fix this?” Of course Murphy’s law would have it that this was all happening while trying to spend a few days somewhat offline with my family. To top it off the cell phone barely worked and the internet is intermittent.
Instead of my normal panic I decided to just drop a few clear emails to people (Our calendar plugin company, a new potential developer, Heather who has been working on tech stuff for us in Portland) and not freak out, then go hiking.
I had a magical day with my husband and son. We went to the Heceda Head lighthouse and then headed up, up, up. We followed a beautiful coastal trail for 2 miles with views that spanned out forever and beautiful shady, quiet forest all around us. Then we came to a second trail called the Hobbit trail. I paused for a second here with a strange memory.
This was a trail I hiked in college a few times. And if I was not mistaken the last time I hiked this trail I was young and stupid and really into rock climbing at the time. We thought it would be a good idea to go free climbing up this sandy wall at that beach. Unfortunately we had drank a few beers on the beach and our judgement was not good. I still have a distinct memory of reaching up to grab my friends hand at the top and missing, then falling backwards, down, down, down. I landed hard on my tail bone on wet sand, which felt similar to concrete. I knew it wasn’t good. I could move, but I felt pain throughout my back.
A few days later I was still laid up in bed, but being 21 I thought I could muscle it out. So I did. Years later I had another fall and this time I went to the doctor and discovered that I broke my back. When looking at the x-ray they thought there had been a fracture in the same place earlier in my life. All I could think was that it was probably that stupid youthful fall.
So here I was 20 years later walking down the same trail with my husband and son. I didn’t feel like it was a memory I wanted to share with my hubby because he would have probably rolled his eyes at me. He was more conservative in his youth and didn’t have the stupid 20-something stories that I had. I hated telling him stories like this and then thinking, “wow, did I really did that?!”
Instead I decided it was time to build a new memory. As I wandered down the trail with Mason snuggled up against my back sleeping I looked at the beautiful trees and the “hobbit-like” growth over us. I loved that this would be my future memory of this trail vs. the college stupidity. My beautiful family and a happy day. I was enjoying the hike so much I completely forgot about the climbing accident, the crashing website and all of the “busy-ness” at home. The sparkling misting ocean opened up in front of us as we emerged from the woods. A beautiful yellow sand beach littered with drift wood and smiling families everywhere made it picture perfect and so peaceful.
We walked down the beach and ended up sitting on right at the very spot where I fell. We opened up our lunch and as Mason ran around the beach laughing and playing, I couldn’t help but smile at how wonderful it was to watch a child explore the beach and new things. One minute he was slipping around on the moss in a little trickling spring that came down the hillside to the beach. The next minute he was climbing on driftwood logs and “claiming” victoriously. Then there were jellyfish to poke and left over pieces of crab shell that Mason kept calling “apple” because of the red color. Then we found a ladybug that had somehow made it’s way to the sand.
It’s moments like these more than any other, when I find myself surrounded by nature that I want to remember forever. There’s no way to do that really. No picture can capture the feeling of the absence of internet, cell phone, city noise, distractions, where there is just nature and my family.
After about an hour of beach play we packed up and headed the couple of miles back to our car. As we crested the summit of our hike I looked out at the sea. Mason was on Mark’s back and the wind was blowing his hair up. He was just laughing at it all and smiling out at the sea. How do you capture that feeling in your heart when you have those moments? The only way is to constantly seek out more! If you are a parent you know that feeling when you look at your child and just see how delighted they are with everything around them, how that makes your heart swell. Perfect moments are easy when you are outside and surrounded by love.
6-miles total from start to finish of hiking later we got back to the parking lot, loaded up and headed back to the beach house we were staying at. Of course as we entered the house my phone started going off. I wasn’t too worried about it though. Whatever happened while I was away happened. Had I opted to stay home and deal with all of the website problems, I would have missed one of the best days ever with my family.
The results of my absence turned out great: The Modern Tribe (the plugin guys who service a gazillion people with their plugin) wrote to say they were going to use Hike it Baby as a test site to really push their plugin to the max and do special testing for us!!! Then an awesome developer said he could fix a lot of our problems and host our ever growing website and it wasn’t going to cost us too much out of the realm of what we could afford. Then a bunch of Hike it Baby approved businesses signed up and just the sign ups from one day paid for the new bumped up hosting we would get from this developer (Going from $40 a month to $200). All was looking good!
Here’s the lesson I learned: just take a step back and let things flow a little and the river of life will work itself out and provide a clear path to follow. I am glad this is how I spent my day instead of my first reaction which was to send Mark and Mason out hiking all day while I worked. I have to admit I had to pat myself on the back for making a good choice and choosing family first! There is only so much time in life to make beautiful natural memories. Use that time wisely.
Shanti Hodges is the founder of Hike it Baby. When not geeking out on the computer and dealing with 400 emails from HIB families, she goes exploring with her son Mason and hubby Mark. While her husband claims to not like the beach, after this last trip and seeing how Mason has mama’s love of the sea, he might have been swayed that it’s actually pretty amazing!