I was keeping an eye out for snakes when I found this little guy at the side of the trail. He was minding his own business, so I left him to enjoy his day in peace. I tried looking him up to identify him but wasn’t successful. I’ve thought about it several times on my journey – that perhaps I should pick up some books to help me identify the trees, birds, reptiles, and snakes that I see on my hikes. My final decision each time has been to just enjoy what I see, and not be so focused on naming them.
I felt a special joy in seeing this guy. (I feel that he’s masculine, but truly that doesn’t matter to me I simply need a pronoun to use. I’m happy to let his gender orientation be his own business.) This is the type of thing I’ve totally relished during my journey; seeing things that were not a part of my environment back “home”. I came across this fellow on the path, acknowledged his existence, kept my distance, and took a photo to remember him by and then I left him to enjoy warming on the rock while I continued with my hike.
I also enjoyed a satisfying chat with a ranger about the ancient peoples who lived in the region and the current descendants of those people. He recommended a good book for me to read about the history of the natives who first populated this continent. We chatted about the current climate between men and women and the #metoo movement. I expressed my concern about how men are feeling attacked because of what other men have done and he told me that there is a shift happening and it’s a good happening. He assured me that the real men are standing behind the movement and welcoming the changes in our culture that can hold the misogynists accountable. I left this conversation with a lightened heart. I came across a good man, had a heart-warming chat, and then I left him to continue with his ranger duties while I continued with my journey.