Happiness eluded me for many years. I knew where it was hiding, but it felt like a treasure lying beneath a rock I could not lift.
My college years were rocky with so many decisions to be made and so much uncertainty ahead. My first job after graduation was at a pedal cab company for bicycle-powered rickshaws that carry tourists around town. It was not the job my parents foresaw after four years of education, but it was one of the best gigs I ever had. The storm clouds that hung over my head during the day evaporated as soon as I clocked in and jumped on the bike.
Yes, I “pedaled” customers that weren’t always polite, but there was a freedom I felt in those hours while in motion not knowing where I was going, yet moving forward all the same. I was filled with that natural high you get after hours of labor – and it felt a lot like joy.
I have grown up since then, but I still get on my bike whenever I can, whether a short ride to work or a Saturday adventure up Mt. Constitution.
A few weekends ago I made the trek up that glorious 2,398-foot mountain. I hadn’t made the journey since the early spring so the steep incline was a bit of a shock. And then there was the self delusion that I was almost at the top, when I was in fact not even halfway up the hill. By the time I reached the summit I was exhausted and hungry and it was starting to rain. But I convinced myself to walk the few steps up the hill to see the view of the islands.
As I walked up to the summit I almost gasped to see Mt. Baker emerging clear and sharp against the blue sky. After taking in the view, I cruised downhill, feeling so lucky to live in a place where I have this freedom to find happiness. You have to seize that moment – to find whatever gives you that awe of the world around you.
This year Washington State Parks celebrates 100 years. One way to support the park is to purchase the $30 discover pass that gives you parking in all of the state’s managed recreation lands. It’s a small prices to pay for the freedom of this majestic park. For more info on the parks, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov or http://friendsofmoran.com/.
Be on the look out in next week’s paper for our Parks and Trails Guide insert, which showcases outdoor adventure on San Juan, Orcas and Lopez Island.