Who we are and what we care about is worthy of appreciation.
Last weekend I ventured out to Lost Maples State Natural Area, a long-planned trip to take in the sights of the Texas Hill Country’s fall colors. It was a beautiful afternoon, made even more so by the park’s natural beauty and the friendly hikers that had made the same trip.
This year, the fall colors were subtle. Muted yellows and reds strewn about the trails told the tale of a relatively mild fall, too little or too much rain, or some other combination of fickle factors beyond our control. But the colors were there to be sought out and appreciated by those who chose to.
There’s a lesson here, especially as we approach Thanksgiving.
For years I’ve tried to time trips like this to capture peak fall colors, and for years, nature has reminded me that it works and moves at its own pace. There have been times when I’ve hit the fall color jackpot and others when I arrived to thick layers of dead leaves on the trails. But no matter the colors, there is always something to love about the park and the trip.
In life and on long-planned hikes, what we hope for doesn’t always line up with what we experience. What we make of that experience, however, is up to us. We are less the sum of our triumphs and struggles and more the sum of what we’ve made of those triumphs and struggles.
There is beauty in the lives we’ve lived, the work we’ve done, and the people we’ve surrounded ourselves with. And whether this year finds us shining brightly or in more muted tones, who we are and what we care about is worthy of appreciation.
In this and every season, we should choose to do so.