My answer was fairly simple, really. I am still drawn to the woods and nature, though with my new found freedom I would be able to enjoy it like never before! I would probably become a hiker/photographer of some sort, able to explore any and all trails, outcroppings and cliffs...snapping as many pictures as I could possibly take. The world would become a lot larger than my beloved Schroon Lake...and what's to stop me from staying in this state, or even in this country? I think Arizona would be next...I've always wanted to explore the pueblo houses built into the side of cliffs, by the ancient Pueblo people. I'd be climbing up those tiny ladders and stepping inside those dwellings, able to catch a glimpse of what their lives may have been like....how did they live day to day? Where did they sleep? When they gazed up at the stars, what was their view of the sky??
Ireland would be next, of course. What would stop me from walking those green hills, and setting my eyes on the breathtaking views of my ancestors? Nothing! No worries about uncomfortable plane seats or length of flight (okay...I would still have that whole fear of flying thing, but wait...is that gone, too?) and nothing to stop me from exploring once I got there! From the city streets of Belfast, to the cliffs of Moher...I would shop till I dropped and walk every cobblestone path. And again, I would aim that camera in every direction until my batteries finally gave out.
I can almost see these places now, as if I'm holding the photos in my hands. Every one of them beautiful, each one a lasting memory. And then I started thinking...if I hadn't lived with these obstacles for so long, and never had anything to stop me from enjoying every inch of the beauty around me, would I still go exploring? Would I still appreciate the opportunities that came my way? I certainly hope I would, though our paths in life definitely help to shape our personalities and how we view the world around us. Perhaps if I had no physical issues and could take off at the drop of a hat, going anywhere and doing anything I wanted, I wouldn't be in such a hurry to put forth the effort. Perhaps I would convince myself that those cliff dwellings would be there tomorrow...Ireland's not going anywhere...I can hike that trail next week. Though what I have also learned from my past experiences is that things can CHANGE. And sometimes things change so quickly and in such monumental ways, you barely have time to blink.
I think all of my physical issues have definitely helped to shape my appreciation for the simple pleasures in life, making me grateful for those tasks I can accomplish, and allowing me to see the beauty in what lies around me. I also know I have a tendency to say 'No' to things too quickly, wary of the 'what ifs' that might happen...and I am working to find that balance, so that I am respecting my own needs while still allowing for that beauty to find its way in. As I thought about writing this post today, it didn't escape my notice what holiday we are celebrating...Memorial Day. A holiday that sometimes gets misconstrued, as we indulge in sales prices and weekend plans--and race up North with our families in cars that are packed to the brim. It is important to enjoy those chances when they come along, spending time in the sun with friends and family...though it is also important to remember those of us who have served our country through all its many years, so that we may have those freedoms. And most of all, to remember those of us who have fallen. I can only imagine that having your lives changed so abruptly...coming from a country with freedoms often taken for granted, to another where people fight just to stay alive, must dramatically change your perspective. It is my hope that we may all find this appreciation for our freedom, and for the beauty that surrounds us...so that in the future we will never let those opportunities pass us by!