I awoke with the weight of sorrow pressed heavily upon my heart and the strength of its presence threatened to bring me to my knees. I knew exactly what I needed to do. I needed to go to the one place where I always feel embraced by the presence of life, quiet, peace, and love – to Sugarite.

This time however would be different. This time I would head straight to the trail that I had been avoiding for nearly six years. It is an area where the devastation from the fire is most clearly visible. I needed this walk today – I needed to walk through sorrow at the place where my heart and spirit calls home. I needed to do this in order to see and feel the beauty that can be found even in a walk through sorrow.

I began my journey well prepared, not knowing how long I would travel on this path. I have both walked through sorrow before and walked through the burned areas of Sugarite before. But even with that, I have never before walked this trail – this trail where both my hands and heart will touch every fallen tree. And this area that touches my life and heart like no other had before.

I began my walk with my heart both open and ready for the pain – I invited it in – knowing that even it’s existence is a natural part of life, and of me. I took in the scars of the land; all that I had seen before clearly visible from the road and felt love in my heart even for it.

I began climbing, bringing myself closer to the hurts of the land and to my heart. I walked among the fallen trees and the remnants of ashes beneath my feet. I walked through areas of standing trees, knowing that although they still stood tall they would never again be graced with dancing leaves.

I came to a clearing where all around me there was devastation. I sat down among the deepest sorrow – among the fallen trees, the charred pieces of bark littering the ground and the still standing remnants. I took every bit of it in and allowed my tears to fall and nourish the land within my broken heart. And yes, my heart could still both see and feel the beauty, even in this.

In an unexpected moment I couldn’t help but feel laughter begin to dance with my tears as I watched a pair of birds play and chase each other through the trees. Yes, even in a walk through sorrow we will find unexpected moments of joy. I welcomed the dance between laughter and tears and opened my heart to welcome the joy in too.

As my tears began to subside I picked myself up to continue my journey. I climbed further and began to notice bits of green beneath my feet and a sprinkling of color in the newest bloom of nearby wildflowers. I felt hope fill my heart for the rebirth that life brings.

I had climbed to an area that granted me a view of all of the surrounding landscape and I couldn’t help but stand in awe of the immensity of the beauty around me. In that moment I could see the beauty of the scope of my life – the hills and mesa’s, the sunshine and clouds, the many trees around me, and the one standing tall – all a part of the beauty that is my life. Even in this walk through sorrow exists gratitude and wonder for the gift that is.

With my heart and spirit so full of emotions and thoughts, both with strength & absolute determination, as well as weakness and the temptation to fall to my knees in defeat – I had to continue onward. I went up and down slopes and around bends and curves. There were times when I took in all of my surroundings and others when I walked without truly seeing, so wrapped up with the thoughts swirling through my mind.

It was during one of these moments that I realized that I was in a place that I had never been before and I opened my eyes and my heart to truly see. I was surrounded by life in what felt like a magical forest and the beauty before me brought me to tears.

I could not move from this place of beauty as my heart and mind pondered my walk through sorrow. I was filled with awe at the wisdom of nature – always my healer as well as my teacher.

I don’t know where this walk in life will lead. In reality, it will not lead to a magical forest but I know that I will make it through somehow. I will see the beauty even in the sorrow and I will look for and welcome the surprise moments of joy. I will remember that just as the rain is nourishment to the land, so are the tears nourishing to my heart. There will be moments filled with strength and moments that bring me to my knees, but I will continue the path with every ounce of love in my heart and cherish every single moment. I hold on to hope with every breath in me and keep my eyes and heart open for the bits of green and the blooming of wildflowers.

The tree will stand tall forever in my heart throughout the journey, no matter what may come. I will take comfort and live with gratitude for the immensity and the beauty of the gift that is.

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