A Human… Simply Being


It was March and I was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming visiting a friend. Even though I had lived in Massachusetts for eight years during my school days and had spent time in Switzerland, I had never been a snow person. The layers of winter always seemed to be a burden. I am an American born in Ghana where the sun is hot and the shoes of choice are flip flops. Even though I am now a New Yorker, heat is in my blood. I naturally gravitate toward it. This trip gave me a new perspective…

On this particular day, we were hiking in the National Park.
We were wearing snow shoes. When I first put them on, I couldn’t imagine walking in them.
After awhile, though, I realized how clever an invention they were.
My friend had bought a new pair for me to wear which had great traction.
We hiked up the mountain and through the woods.
First, I was following his footsteps,
but then I began to get into my own flow.

We encountered only a handful of people along the way.
At certain points, there were very few footprints.
My friend kept saying, “Lay your own tracks.”
At first, I didn’t want to.
I didn’t want to mess up the pristine landscape,
but then I felt excitement in leaving an imprint on the fresh snow -
if only temporarily. I felt like an explorer.

My friend was thoughtful in his planning.
He wanted me to see Jackson Lake.
When we got there we walked out to the middle.
We were literally walking on water – well, ice.
In a month it would be liquid again.
This was one of the most special moments during the trip.
We stopped to simply listen to the silence.
We could hear our own breath.
I felt a connection to everything around me
and yet I was also in awe of Nature herself.

We came upon this scene in the picture as we were heading back.
He was ahead of me but I had to stop.
It was perfectly framed – like a postcard.
I wondered if anyone was in the house.
There seemed to be almost no tracks.
In that moment, I realized why my friend had escaped
the winter of New York for this wonderland in Wyoming.
The mountains… the air… the cold was refreshing.
Most of all, it was the peace.
It was calming to the spirit and allowed the mind to be free.
Every moment with Nature was a meditation.
I teach meditation yet there were no instructions needed here.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city,
I felt like a Human… Simply Being.

Photo and story by Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, Ph.D., MBA.

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