SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 93: “The Trail Is Our Therapy”

Holiday parties all weekend. Not only am I attending, I’m hosting. Not the best weekend for a long 365 search and article.

Can’t figure out exactly where to go. So when my daughter and I hit the road for and errand run, we decide to stop by one of our favorite hiking spots, hoping to meet a friend for the day.

We park at the top of Victory, an entrance to Ahmanson Ranch, part of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. It’s a very cool open space saved from development in 2003.

The sun is rapidly dropping and the wind enhanced evening chill is beginning to set in.

There is a Hawk hovering overhead as we hit the trail. This sighting renews our commitment to weather the cold. Especially my daughter, who in her short sleeves, runs up and down the trails. I’m not bad parent. We have three coats in the car, all of which she refuses to put on.

Approaching us are several groups of hikers, returning from their afternoon’s outings. It’s starting to get very cold, but even with the wind and the on setting freeze, I am warmly welcomed by my two new friends, local nature lovers Johanna and Steven.

It’s getting very close to dusk, and not wanting to loose the light, we scurry to take a few photos. Luckily for us, the light is great, making it easy breezy to get a nice shot. Plus the picturesque hillside surely helps a bit.

We are too the point in our conversation. So I’ll be fairly brief in my write up.

Have you ever met those people who have a calmness about them; that, “we are good with life and the world around us countenance.”  You know, those happy examples who seemingly have discovered the secret to life, or at least are on track to a better future.

We are good with life and the world around us, the easiest way to introduce, Johanna and Steven.

Like I said, we have a very short conversation. But gems are shared.

“The trail is our therapy,” they tell me.

I ask of their wishes for the future and any wisdom for the readers of 365.

The new-year is getting closer and, I’m sure all of us need to continue to be uplifted to know that none of us are alone in our thoughts. With this said, welcome Johanna’s and Steven’s combined thoughts on one of my favorite topics, the current state and future of our youth.

A regular theme and another affirmation to many of the topics we have covered over the last 92 days.

“We want our kids to have a simpler life and a respect for nature. We worry about the pressure schools put on our children to perform.” I instantly relate, they are not talking about rearing uneducated children. They are talking about a system that institutionalizes education to a set of standards and statistics, a method of education that teaches unhealthy competition, undue stress and an inability to develop individual talents. I could write a book on my point-of-view on this issue, but that is no the purpose of 365, maybe next year.

They continue, “Our wishes for our kids…Less technology,” referring back to their perspectives of simplifying life and an appreciation nature.

We talk of our childhoods and the time we spent playing in the mountains and fields. “It’s all Wii 2 now.”

This is why I continue to fight tooth and nail with my kid about the virtual world. So far I’m still winning the war. There is no Wii 2 in my home; although, I do admit to several subscriptions to virtual play worlds.

The sun drops below the horizon, and we are late for our evening commitments. Sadly, we have to conclude our trail talk.

Johanna, Steven, thanks for sharing a few minutes of cold air chat. Your wishes for the future are well needed.

See you on the trails.

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