A friend recently sent me a link to a Ted Talk from Alain de Botton entitled “A kinder, gentler philosophy of success.” Whether or not you agree with Mr. De Botton’s philosophy’s on life and perspective of success, in this particular talk, Mr. De Botton identifies nature as an example of what we seek out to level and balance ourselves. That the pressure of believing in ourselves, above all else, causes us to come unhinged. That nature is transcendent and reminds us universally, there is something larger at play, someone else is in charge, and it gives us relief. While I walked the 3+ miles of Skunk Creek Trail this morning, watching lizards and quail scurry to cross ahead of me, this talk rang true for me.
Skunk Creek Trail is close to the school–you can pick it up anywhere between 51st Avenue and Utopia to 73rd Avenue and Greenway–it’s a great has paved and unpaved paths that also connect to the Thunderbird Paseo Park. The trail system runs along Skunk Creek, a natural dry creek bed–though the only time I saw water stay in it for more than a few hours was after the rainstorm in March. It’s a reminder that we don’t always have to plan a trip to go to Sedona or the Grand Canyon or even to Piestewa Peak in Phoenix to feel the reassurance that Mr. De Botton references. We are fortunate to witness these desert sunsets and play on trails like Skunk Creek, see cottontails hop across campus and hear the coyotes at night. Nature signals a universal balance and truth that transcends success. Its there whether we finish first or last and sometimes, it’s just good for the soul.