I don’t know about you, but I often find myself caught in the “it has to be new” loop. A new place to explore, a new route to run, a new hobby to try. Our culture is obsessed with newness, and this spills over to our recreation. If we have learned anything in this pandemic, though, it is to appreciate the familiar. (I documented my backyard with photos for a year, watching the seasons change and the birds come and go. It was a really rewarding project.)
It was in this spirit, then, that I returned to the Trail of 10 Falls Loop at Silver Falls State Park. This trail was the site of one of my first big trail runs, twenty five years ago. I have hiked it in the rain and the sun, in long routes and in short. Still, there is always something new to see; some new way of looking that can bring delight. You might introduce someone new to the trail, seeing it through their eyes for the first time. You might go in the spirit of learning to identify waterfall types. You can look and listen for birds or wildflowers. I went with the new goal of learning how to better photograph with long exposure. Newness is a quality that happens in our heads, in how we choose to see. I think it is a skill that we can cultivate to help stave off boredom and discontent.
What familiar place can you revisit with a spirit of newness?