My family and I were determined to get outdoors to enjoy the lovely weather the last few days, and headed to Huddart Park for a hike on Sunday.  We adore this nearby natural gem, filled with redwoods, bay laurels, and tan oaks, and a beautiful (and quite full after the rains!) creek running through it.

We marveled at the wildflowers already in bloom – some dainty, five-petaled white blossoms, and the sweet lavender flowers of redwood sorrel, which I had never seen in bloom before.  They were profuse and a delight to the eyes.

Near the last half-mile of our modest adventure my daughter and I stopped at a stream, as we often do, to explore and to enjoy rock face painting.  This is something she learned from Katie Hicks at our last retreat at Ananda Valley Farm.  Taking a rock about the size of your palm in one hand, you select a colorful rock that can easily be held by the other, and rub it on the rock.  After a minute or so, viola –  paint is created!  We enjoyed decorating each other’s faces in reddish-brown and greyish-yellow designs.

My husband decided to move along the trail ahead of us while we were immersed in our playfulness.  He stepped off-trail at another familiar spot along the creek, headed a bit upstream, and sat down on a beautiful, warm, sunny spot on the slope about 10 feet above the creek.  It was peaceful, meditative, and relaxing.

As my daughter and I finished up our faces, we headed up the trail to catch up with Michael.  We looked upstream and didn’t see him, so we figured he must have headed back to the car.  After 30 minutes of waiting for him in the parking lot, he arrived, looking a bit flustered.  Upon descending the slope where he had sat in quiet reflection, he slipped and fell on his hip.  His knee was scraped, and he was OK, but quite unhappy.  Not because of his injuries, but because in the process his wedding band slipped off his finger, and it was nowhere in sight.

We rushed back to the site and the three of us scoured the area, looking in the most likely spots according to his trajectory as the hillside had unceremoniously tossed him downhill.  We carefully moved aside compost, redwood pine cones, and twigs, but to no avail; we couldn’t find the ring.  Did it fly in the air and land somewhere far?  Somewhere we wouldn’t expect?  Did it bounce and roll down into the stream, which was a couple feet deep at this spot?  I couldn’t see anything in the silt at the bottom

Strangely, I didn’t feel very upset.  There was a sense of detachment and neutrality about the whole thing.  It’s just a ring.  It’s OK if it’s gone, but I believe we can find it.  My daughter was the most upset, feeling very sad for her dad.  He wondered if perhaps it had slipped off his hand into a pants pocket back at home, or at the gym the previous day and he just hadn’t noticed.  Nope, not anywhere.  But I had faith – I knew the ring would show up, I just didn’t know where or how.

We decided to rent a good metal detector and give it a go the next day.  It was another spectacularly beautiful, warm March morning as we headed back to the scene, metal detector in tow.  I moved it back and forth close to the ground on the slippery mud where he had come tumbling down.  Michael, however, suggested we check out an area to our left where there was more compost.  This would have been a few feet off to his right as he slid and I thought it unlikely, as the ring was on his left hand and would have had to fly across to the other side.  But I figured he might be onto something, and handed him the detector.

After a few seconds, we heard the beep-beep of a response, indicating something metal was in the vicinity.  I kneeled at the spot as he moved the sensor slower and slower, narrowing down the exact location.  With my garden gloves on, I began to gingerly dig through the twigs and redwood needles.  Would we find the ring?  Or perhaps some unexpected treasure?  Or just an old rusty nail?

I cleared about 2 inches of debris and saw a shiny object – there it was, the ring!  I was amazed, almost dumbfounded.  Within less than 3 minutes of looking, we had found it.  I had been prepared for searching for a half-hour or it being lost forever, and here it was, easy to find.  We both heaved a sigh of relief and shouted in joy.

Before we had left our house that morning, I remember commenting to my husband, “when we find the ring…”  It was a declaration of faith and certainty that it would reappear.  That ring of faith indeed was there, ready for us to find.  We only had to determine that we would show up and follow our inner knowing as to where it was.

One time, long ago, you had a ring of faith and thought it was lost. But it’s still there, where you left it.  Your deep, inner connection to the Divine has never been “lost” – you just lost track of it perhaps when you were very, very young.  Be determined.  Know the ring, the connection, is there, and make your declaration that you are finding it.  Listen to your intuition, your inner knowing beyond reason, and let it guide you to whatever you need to return to that state of deep connectedness and wholeness.  Don’t be afraid to dig.  Don’t buy into the doubt and give up.  It’s waiting for you – have faith, and follow the trail back to your True Self.


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