Dale Says

August 16, 2012

Headwaters

Filed under: Miscellaneous, Travel — Dale @ 2:27 pm

The snow melts on the mountain
And the water runs down to the spring
And the spring in a turbulent fountain,
With a song of youth to sing,
Runs down to the riotous river,
And the river flows to the sea,
And the water again
Goes back in rain
To the hills where it used to be.

- William Randolph Hearst

A bottle sits on my desk, filled with water from the source of Hot Springs Creek. It reminds me of a special group of friends and a unique place—a place of beauty and worth.

Each August, we don hiking boots and sun hats and we march over dusty trails and hillsides to search for the headwaters. Each year it gets a little more difficult to climb over downed trees and cross the streams that lie in our path, and each year more of us require encouragement and help. But together we make it.

The “kids” go ahead now, scouting out the best route. We’re slowly passing the leadership to the next generation. When they were young, we helped them lace up their boots, carry their water, and get over downed trees. Now, they help us, holding low-hanging branches out of the way, and taking our hands to help us across streams. They are smart and kind, and it makes us feel good about the ability of the next generation to run the world.

The sound of the spring floats over the hillside and reaches us as we are tiring, and we know we are close. That encouragement helps us up the final slope, and we step into a glen where a mountain spring is cloaked by blooming lilies and dark green ferns. Butterflies and bees float among the plants, carrying out their lives. We drop our packs, congratulate each other, and take time to admire the beauty and peace. We fill our water bottles from the spring; the water is cold and pure—perfect water from a perfect place! Some of us circle around the spring, taking photos and absorbing the natural beauty. It’s tranquil and sublime—our special and magical place.

We have lunch by the waterside, and the conversation is light and easy. We are happy here. We try to take it all in because it means so much to us, and because we don’t know how many more of these moments we will have. None of us know for sure what lies ahead, but we do know that it won’t always be like this. So we soak it up and relish the moment.

As we gather our belongings and get ready to leave we sense a relaxed mood in the group. Any troubles we brought have been washed away, and we are refreshed. We reluctantly start the hike back, helping each other along the trail. It’s been a remarkable moment, shared with extraordinary friends. We’re refreshed and we can go on.

We’re back to our usual lives now, and the bottle from the headwaters sits on my desk. It’s just water, and yet it means so much more. Whenever I look at it I think about what it represents, and a warm feeling comes over me.

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