It feels so good to be back out in the trail after a week away. It is now the week of Ben’s twenty-first birthday. Filled with the memories of that first morning with him just after his birth, his beauty, the unexpected news of his Down Syndrome, knowing that life would change in every way in his presence, I think about how much life has also changed for me in this one short month and a half of coming to know this trail. Walking along with Nora amongst a family of trees that have become so familiar I find myself looking for what a twenty-one year old tree might look like. The perspective of tree trucks at eye level is deceiving, they all look pretty much the same. But a shift eventually occurs and I begin to look for what kind of tree might embody the spirit of Ben instead of his actual age. This requires a completely different kind of perspective. I can feel his spirit up close and personal, and also that it is something HUGE. My eye is drawn to a patch of color on a tree coming up on the edge of the path. Focusing in reveals texture and distinctive markings, the micro-world of this particular tree drawing me in to connect.


This place where the tree is a singular trunk splits just above this distinctive place and becomes two parts. Then I simply look straight up. This tree has continued to grow to a huge height in two equal parts that soar expansively amongst the others,


while still significantly joined and connected at the ground.


Well, that’s Ben for you. His immediate charm and energy has the power to invite engagement and shift perspective to open to his expansiveness.

Thinking about the final day of our lake vacation last week, I remember finally focusing on the beautiful roses growing at the side of the small yard. They were there all week and I would notice them out of the corner of my eye but they simply couldn’t compete with the lake that was holding our attention.  It was the last morning, as we were restoring order and packing up, when I felt the shift and found myself wanting to get up close and personal with these roses before we left. I couldn’t get the camera close enough. And once there, what I saw was the expansive hugeness that lives in these gorgeous blossoms.


Cycling back around to Ben, I realize how much he has guided do me to focus ‘in’ to be able to experience the expansiveness of a moment. And smiling now as I remember his insistence that I take this photo of him doing his yoga the other night…


I don’t think my perspective of Ben in this world has changed since he decided to share his presence with me. It’s just taken me twenty-one years to be able to shift the focus to where I can truly celebrate with him as an equal partner in this journey together…

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