Wild Strawberries

Be here.

Be present.

Wherever you are.

Be there.

Willie Nelson

It is late winter, which means I almost always want to be someplace other than at home, away from the snow that lingers, the icy paths that make walking treacherous, the gray skies, the weight of it all. That is why I find myself in Sedona, Arizona. When I drove into town a couple of days ago it was raining lightly. After checking into my hotel room, I donned the rain gear I had brought along with my hiking gear and went for a walk around town. By the time I had finished my Mexican dinner and begun walking back to my room, the rain had turned to snow, and the sidewalks were already white. I hastily retreated to my room with a good book. This was not so bad and not so different from what I do on the trail. Had I been camping I would have retreated to my tent with a good book.

I awoke the next morning and gazed upon the snow covered world you see in the photo above. About eight inches of it had fallen during the night. Highways leading into and out of town were all closed. Frantic tourists were amassed in the hotel lobby trying to figure out how they were going to get to Phoenix to fly home. I went for my usual walk, wading through deep slush and leaping across moats of icy water at every curb. Most of the businesses were closed. The shuttle that provides transportation to and from the trailheads was not running. This was not exactly what I had in mind when I planned a late winter getaway.

I spent most of that day in my room, parked in front of the window with red rock vistas in the east. It was not such a bad day. In the evening I caught a glimpse of the peaks reflecting light from the sunset as they glowed neon pink for a few minutes. Yes, it was not such a bad day.

I have been in Sedona now for five days and have been able thus far to take only one short hike. I would be lying if I said I am not disappointed. Much of my time has been spent in my room reading and gazing at the view. This is not a bad way to spend time, but I would rather be hiking. I would almost always rather be hiking.

At such times I remember wild strawberries and the worst backpacking trip I ever took. I wrote about it in my post, A Stick in the Mud, dated May 23, 2021. What I did not write about in that post was an experience I had as I approached the trailhead when I spotted a patch of wild strawberries growing in abundance on the ground. These delectable treats are a sweet gift and typically are gobbled up by small animals so rarely make it into the mouths of hungry hikers. They were growing in a generous patch, small dots of bright red among the leaves and the grass along the trail. I was close to the trailhead so I could have gathered some in my bandana to take home for shortcake. But I was tired and cold so let the moment past. The memory has stayed with me of a missed opportunity, something sweet and wild that I passed up because I wanted to be someplace else.

So it is I look out my window. So it is I gaze at the jagged red peaks that rise to the east. So it is I savor this moment of sweetness.

Published by Colleen Drake

Colleen Drake (AKA Teacup) has over sixty years of hiking exerience (yes, I'm really old) and has seen some pretty big changes over those many years. Join her on the Solitude Trail & share some of these adventures while exploring with her the value of solitude in the wilderness.

One thought on “Wild Strawberries

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: