Head Down? Put Your Helmet On!
Have you ever gotten so immersed in something that you fail to notice what is going on around you, forget an important commitment, or miss out on something more important than your immediate goal or activity? If you are at all like me the answer is a resounding “YES!”
Well, in that vein, I recently set out on mountain hike while visiting my daughter in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. My goal for the day was simple: make it to Delta Lake and enjoy the splendor of its sapphire blue glacial waters, nestled among the snow crested peaks of the Grand Tetons.
It was a beautiful, clear, and hot summer’s day. I was determined that neither the heat or the steep incline of the trail was going to slow me down. So off we went. I set out at a rather brisk pace, and took the lead, not bothering to wait for my husband while he took pictures or chatted with other hikers. Following instructions received from a local regarding the route to Delta Lake, we stepped off the main trail and started up a narrow and decidedly more gnarly side trail. We waded through streams, crossed boulder fields, and scaled steep slopes. At one point I shimmied under a large fallen tree trunk that blocked the path. As I jumped back to my feet I stood up and drove my head straight into the underbelly of another fallen tree.
According to Webster, “THUNK” is a dull, hollow sound made especially when a heavy object hits something, which is a pretty good description of what my husband would have heard as my cranium intercepted the fallen fir tree.
“That didn’t sound good,” he said upon catching up to me.
“Need a moment,” I said, feeling very woozie. I took deep some breaths to gather myself. I held my hand to my scalp and felt a trickle of blood in my fingers. I took a look up to see a very pointy, rock-hard thorn protruding from where I hit my head. “Yikes,” I gasped, wondering what damage I may have inflicted. Fortunately, my injury was more of a lump and scrape combination.
While my injury was superficial, the incident caused me to reconsider my trailblazing strategy. “You lead the way now,” I said to my husband, motioning him to go ahead.
A few weeks later, back home in the east and far removed from the perils of the mountain trail, I was walking across a parking lot. Out of nowwhere scuttled a small, grey mouse. It was moving at quite the clip, very intent on achieving its goal of making it across the parking lot alive, and ahead of me.
The mouse, so focused on achieving its destination, ran headlong into the curb. Momentarily stunned our eyes met, and I gave it a knowing look as it gathered its wits and clambered over the curb in quest of more hospitable surroundings so it could continue with its busy day.
I laughed out loud thinking about how the mouse’s misfortune served to remind me that sometimes we need to slow down, to consider what is around us – whether in our daily activities or in our personal and professional relationships – to make sure we notice obstacles that may be right in front, but that we sometimes fail to see.
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