The Best 30 Minutes of My Life


Recently...I lived the best 30 minutes of my life.

It was 4:25 p.m. when I decided to head out the door and go for a hike on a nearby river trail. It was 53 degrees and chilly, but I felt like I needed the my legs, in my lungs, and in my attitude. Twenty minutes later, it had turned dusk and I was walking in the quiet through the trail's trees. 

And then it started.

The best 30 minutes of my life.

As I rounded a corner, I came face-to-face with a beautiful buck. He was 20 yards away, and the closest I can remember ever having been to one in the wild. For two minutes we stared at each other. I soaked him in and whispered in my head as if he could hear me, "You are awesome. Thank you.

Finally, he started moving away, but not at the swift bouncing movement I was used to seeing in an encounter. I walked to where he had been standing thirty seconds previously; his strong communication scent lingered. He was still in my vision, and I watched him some more. More "thank you's" came to mind.

Still in awe, I continued walking.

Five minutes farther up the trail, my eye caught three more deer on the hillside. They were watching me. My eyes were focusing and refocusing as the fading light was trying to steal the moment. As we shared two minutes of unmoving quiet, I breathed in the moment's peace.

I slowly began walking again.

I veered right off the trail and started climbing up through the trees and into a meadow before one last steep hill climb. My breathing got harder, and the burn in my legs felt good. On the top of the hill, I turned right again along a new trail. It was getting dark now, but there he was. The antlers were unmistakable. 

Another buck...and this time five deer. 

I couldn't be 100% sure if this was a new small family or if the previous family had circled back up and I had done. It didn't matter. I was lucky either way. Again, we all watched each other before they calmly moved back down the hill into the deep trees.

My gratitude had been pushed to its highest meter reading.

The moon was now visible and had begun its evening shift to light the night. A flock of geese honked above me heading to the water a few hundred yards away. Tens of small dark objects in the sky soon turned into one dark mass as they flew overhead. The moon hung above the beautiful silhouette of a giant old oak; its limbs expanding far and wide. The oak seemed as if he was an old friend. 

Again..."Thank you."

As I headed home, the "wow!" I felt was made more brilliant by the changing colors of the sky as the sun said farewell for the day...beginning its last graceful dip into the earth. As my brain breathed in my total experience, I felt perfect harmony.

I had just lived my best 30 minutes ever.

No matter what has happened in our lives, no matter what we may be currently living or feeling, no matter our ages...our best 30 minutes is always still out there waiting to be lived. 

And for me, the more optimism, gratitude and hope in which I live...the more frequently my "best 30 minutes ever" shows up.

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Shawn Anderson                                                 (310) 402-4826