When you can’t wait for the future, don’t bypass what’s right in front of you now.
I got the word from my childhood friend the day before we arrived: the smoke from one of the California fires was blowing into the Tahoe area. We had finally gotten a trip booked to visit the cabin owned by Kathy’s husband’s family for almost 100 years. Built on national forest land, I’d heard about the history that my friend was unearthing since she’d married Tom 6 years ago. Finally, after COVID allowed, we were going to see for ourselves.
The small cabin was rustic and cozy and completely charming. It was filled with photos of ancestors using implements that now hang on walls. The wash tub in which Tom’s great grandmother scrubbed clothes, the creel his father used to bring home fish for dinner, the massive door which was the backdrop for a number of the framed photos all still breathed life and energy into this old shelter built in the midst of mountains and pines.
We were taken in immediately by the beauty of the area. The tall pines and firs, the huge boulders that lined the way, pine cones the size of pineapples, the pristine blue of Echo Lake. And yet our consummate hosts, who cranked out amazing meals in the smallest of kitchens and treated us to kayak tours of the lake and hikes on the PCT out their back door, were troubled by what we couldn’t see and enjoy. “You can’t believe the view of the lake and mountains when there’s no smoke.” “This is our usual lookout on this trail but it’s just so disappointing you can’t see it.” Of course, they were hoping the best for visit–and they knew what that looked like!
But we weren’t looking that far ahead of where we were. Right here, the view we did have created quite enough for the senses. The hummingbirds were less than 3 feet from my perch on the porch, battling with each other for their own perch on a feeder,

recreating the exact sound of light sabers drawn in a galactic battle. The variety of pine trees, firs, shrubs and rocks on our hikes were all new to us. Who knew there could be so many different shades of green on just pine trees alone? White pines are lighter than red pines and hemlocks are somewhere in between. Lichen on their barks introduced yet another tone. And the pinecones at my feet were larger than pineapples!

We were delighted because we were focuses on this view, not the one behind it which we might see tomorrow. I admit it helped that we didn’t know what we were missing! But no matter if you are vacationing or in the middle of a change-your-life crises, there are choice opportunities. What’s on the other side may be appealing but on the way there, hopefully you won’t miss the joy and beauty that can be extracted from what you can see now. Don’t wait for the smoke to clear.
Wishing you wisdom,
Deborah Bennet Berecz
Deborah Bennett Berecz

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