Are you an optimist?

Mack is an optimist

If you find the last dispersed camping spot in the canyon are you bothered by the dust, noise, and lack of privacy? Or are you grateful that the canyon is beautiful and the camping free?

Sheared off lamb tails by the side of the road.
The lambs lost their tails. When we saw this on the roadside, maybe we should have headed home?

What if the camping spot is in a lumpy field of fresh horse poop? What if your dogs love to eat horse poop? What if nearby cows are bellowing throughout the night? And a wildfire nearby is filling the valley with smoke? Would you describe the sun as a beautiful-in-its-own-way ball of red? If there are bald eagles and osprey and lots of fish to catch, is that enough to keep you focused on the positive? What if you found a functioning squirt gun in the river?

When was the last time you crashed on your mountain bike? Were you going fast? Did you lose focus or make a bad decision? Was it a full endo over the handlebars? A belly-flop into a creek? Are you grateful that your iPhone was not in the front of your pack even though every single piece of clothing you are wearing is soaked? Did you get sand in your gloves? Is it a big deal? The bike is fine, and you are mostly fine, right? Maybe in a couple of days you won’t be able to sleep from the pain in your shoulder or lift a glass of water or do a squat, but you were feeling good, happy vacation vibes! And it’s cool how the blood pools up inside the tegaderm bandage. And dinner that night seemed extra delicious!

Wildfire in Wyoming
Wildfire in Wyoming

If this was your weekend in a nutshell, would you say you had bad luck camping, a crash on the MTB, burning eyes from wildfire, stinky dog farts and no sleep? Or would you say the scenery was beautiful, the dogs happy, great visits with friends/family and a fun ride?

Sometimes it starts to feel a stretch, finding the positive when nothing is going exactly right, but we are all SO LUCKY! Not everything is ideal, but as of this writing we still have public land, dark skies, wild animals, trails, and vastness. True, you may have to believe in the vastness since the sky is opaque with smoke, but it is there.

Maybe your body hurts right now when you sneeze, but in a few days you will be back on the bike, landing small jumps and feeling grateful that a small thing like a bike ride will make every day better.

Perspective is everything. Worrying and fretting doesn’t help, complaining and freaking out doesn’t help. Optimism doesn’t always come naturally, but each day that I find a silver lining, I am winning.

Laurel Hunter

Laurel Hunter

Central Oregon, USA