By: Milin Pandya
The deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe greeted us as we made our way to the trailhead. In the crisp morning air and clear sunny skies, it was as if the lake presented itself to us in a dramatic display, imploring us to admire its beauty. We obliged. How could we not? The expansive lake with the backdrop of snowcapped mountains in late spring was breathtaking.
The trail we embarked on was ten miles roundtrip. On mile two, I stepped on an uneven tree root and rolled my ankle. I immediately developed stabbing pain in my right ankle. I thought, “Really? At mile two.” I took a moment to collect myself as my friends looked back with concern… Then, we trudged along. The trail led to an opening with a view of the bay. We hiked down to a collection of large rocks that overlooked the bay. The water was so clear I could see the pebbles at the bottom of the lake.
We had the company of Steller’s Jay, a small type of blue bird, and a chipmunk. Both animals joined us on the rocks, not seeking companionship I presume but rather our PB&J sandwiches and pretzels. After lunch, I closed my eyes and laid down on the rock. I could feel the warmth of the sun travel through my body as if it were a plush blanket tightly wrapped around me. The tranquility of the bay was interrupted only by the chirping of the Steller’s Jay, the whooshing of the slight breeze, and a boat in the distance. While I had seen the beauty of the lake on the hike, I hadn’t felt it until that moment. I appreciated the hike so much more.
Along the long arduous path of residency and of life, it’s important to seek out opportunities to pause and truly feel the moment. Find your moment of mindfulness. Find your moment at the bay.