As a consultant, I was hired to lead a training session in the Tacoma, Washington area. At the time my son and I were into backpacking so we thought that it would be a great opportunity to spend a few days in Olympic National Park. After researching the options, we decided to hike the Hoh River Trail. So… after much preparation and completion of my obligations as a trainer, we set out.
After a short drive, we donned our backpacks and set out on a new adventure. What an amazing place! As we passed beyond the area where most people stopped, we became fully immersed in a rainforest wonderland. I quickly experienced more moss, ferns, moisture and wetness than I had ever experienced in my whole life! Streams everywhere, moss covered trees… the smell of decaying vegetation in the midst of oxygen producing, growing, thriving, living plant life. What a rich, complex sensory experience!
But then I became aware of something pretty strange. At first, I thought it was a fluke but then realized that about every ten feet or so on the trail, there was a small fresh green leaf that had three holes in it. It looked like the horror mask of the howler… two eye holes and one oval shaped hole for the mouth. I tried to just write it off but as we continued down the trail, they were there. It couldn’t have been a naturally occurring thing so I started looking for someone who had placed them… no signs… no people at all. I kept picking one up to see if it really was what it seemed. It was… As we walked, my son and I became more and more on edge. Noises became more eerie and unexplainable, the hair on my neck stood up. The awe and wonder became fear and dread of the unknown and maybe even oppression. What was this about? Should we turn around? Were we in danger? We kept going… didn’t sleep well… nothing happened… but the leaves never stopped.
It still makes me wonder… 20 plus years later. I can still remember the feelings, the sights… the sounds. But nothing happened. Why does it still make me unsettled? Nothing happened.
Sometimes… a lot of times… the past has a way of affecting today.
Have you ever experienced something in the past that unsettles you today? How can you let it go?