Like most people, I had a plan. Go to college. Go to law school. Get a job. Live the good life. It was a nice plan, but the universe just laughed and threw in a handful of plot twists. Ticking off one and two were fairly easy – academically anyway, but three turned out to be problematic. It’s difficult to keep a kind heart and a vicious type A personality in the same body which led to some soul-searching as well as some gut-wrenching and eye-opening experiences. So, after the drama of all that growth, I rallied and decided to be like water or, to be more accurate, like a leaf floating down a mountain stream. Mountain streams make for really interesting journeys. Sometimes, you find yourself in a lovely rhythm and little gets in your way. Other times, you find yourself in a powerful hydraulic that tries to suck you down and never let go. The man-made hydraulics are the ones you really have to watch out for. In a natural mountain stream without the trappings of man, life can be good. Really good. So, the one constant that always keeps me focused is our natural world. I love everything about the woods, especially the mountains, from the smell of pine or cedar to the creeks to the creatures that call the place their home (mosquitos, chiggers and ticks excepted of course). Sometimes I just have to actually run in the woods. Jump a small creek. Bounce off a rock. For me, nothing is more free or more me. My trail companions, Ranger and Ranger 2, accompany me on many hiking adventures. Each of us revels in the freedom of nature in our own unique way. This new adventure will no doubt be a happy continuation of my journey as a leaf along the current. I am grateful for the company, and I am ready.