Hiking the other day, the trail I was following died out. I had to make my way down the cliff side to the river bed in the valley below. Bushwhacking we call it in Canada. At one point I had to swing out on long grass to to get down a sheer 5 meter drop. Phew!
Somehow I had to cross the river back to the main road and to civilization. The Chico river, although it is low now, is nonetheless fast and deep. I found a place where for about 200 meters there were many stones sticking out and scattered throughout the flow. I set across, leaping stone to stone.
At one point, I was daunted by a major leap. I back tracked, trying to find another easier way across. There was nothing. I made my way back and faced my foe. A metre and half leap was required to a stone with no flat landing. I would have to land and hold myself up with my hands. Upon landing I had two more stones to jump across, each with only room for one foot.
There would be no stopping. No turning back. I would have to jump, jump, jump-- the last two without pause, jumping with the foot I landed on It was the deepest part of the river. If I fell in, there would be no catching myself with my feet.
It felt like I was in the midst of some Life Metaphor! Except, the words were stones and the lesson the cool, deep, fast water.
I gave the rocks a good look over. I imagined the jumps in my head. The required series of muscle movements played in my mind. My heart was pounding and my legs shaking. I breathed deeply, striving for calm. Then sun was getting low in the sky.
Then, without a second thought I just jumped. My hands firmly grasped the first rock. I pulled myself over. A long pause. Leap! ... Left, Right, left...
I made it! I was alive! I hopped my way to the other side, the remaining jumps nothing in comparison.
This hike had begun by exiting the main road, the Known, for the Unknown, across the rusty bridge. The spiritual author Osho was a great influence here. He argued persuasively that we must always choose the Unknown. This is where living happens. This is when we are deepest in our moments and our world scintillates with possibilities, passion, inspiration and life.