Saturday Salutation: The Cairns of Strangers

This week, my husband and I scrambled up the boulders of Mt. of the Holy Cross one of Colorado’s spectacular 14ers.  The trek was a beautiful journey of cairns, challenge and connection.

The most tangible beauty came from the dramatic 360 views on this clear, cool summer day.

There was also intense beauty in pushing through when the summit seemed unattainable.

And, I was ironically warmed by the connection I felt with my husband as he looked at me and said, “we are losers if we don’t finish this.” I knew he was right, and I also knew he wouldn’t push me past my limits, (after all, this is the man who once said, “honey, I know what you said, but you really need that epidural).

Mostly, I found beauty in the community of strangers– some of whom we connected with on the trail, and others whom had come before. As the trail became most obscured and the trekking became most treacherous, hikers had built large cairns that seemed to surface from nowhere– beautiful monuments to the support and teamwork of like-minded adventurers.

Finally, as we were nearing the end of our descent, there was the beauty in the hearts of the 2 men hiking back up in search of some strangers they had met along the way (a task that seemed unfathomable to me at that point).

“It’s getting late, and they seemed tired, and it’s just taking too long, we’ve got extra water, we are going up to find them and see if they need help.”

Thank you God for the Cairns of strangers.



Saturday Salutations: Running on Kindness

It was mile 65 of the Devilman Triathlon. My wet hair was strung with seaweed. I had several layers of mud and grime on my face, arms and legs. I was sick from running on too many caffeinated gels, and slugging through the final miles of the run. The only time I have looked and felt worse, was childbirth.

A man began to pass and then slowed down to match my pace.

He smiled, “You look fantastic!”

“Yeah, right,” I shot him a grimaced look.

“There is nothing more beautiful than a woman with determination. You’ve got this.”

And then he ran on.

As did I but this time with a bit more energy in my stride. I finished the back half of that run at a substantially faster pace.

The right words— timed well, can make all the difference. I will never forget that race, and I will always remember the impact of that stranger.

Who do you know at mile 65?