This picture was taken last Saturday on a stretch of trail in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Winter has reared its ugly head and been less than kind to the entire Midwest over the past few weeks, but this day gave us some much needed sunshine. The cold weather is always easier to deal with when the sun is out.

The scene from the snapshot you are seeing here took place at the Kalamazoo Nature Center, which is a series of 14 nature trails plopped in the middle of the forest. Michigan had gotten some pretty good snow the days prior to my arrival, so many of the trails were only slightly plowed or not plowed at all. So what does one do when there is no trail to walk on? Blaze their own of course! Getting a little leg workout in is never a bad thing!

This was my first time ever being in this place and I was blown away at how pretty everything was. The wind remained calm, which made everything seem that much warmer. There were trees all over the hilly terrain and little streams carving their way through the melted snow. The sky was filled with beautiful, rippling clouds, and looked like something straight out of a gallery. The powdery snow, while a hassle to walk through at times, made everything look that much more pristine.

As I walked through the forest, my head was completely clear with the exception of one thought; Is fate a real thing? This can be a very hard question to answer for a number of reasons depending on what you believe in. Those who do not believe in fate tend to be very realistic thinkers. They believe that we are in complete control of our outcomes and they plan as such. Those who do believe in fate know life is far too complex to handle all by ourselves. They believe there is a plan in place for their lives and think there is a reason or explanation for everything that happens. They may not be able to give you an answer as to why, but their faith is what gets them through.

Photo Credit: Ryan Magnuson/Trail BlazerRy
Photo Credit: Ryan Magnuson/Trail BlazerRy

I have thought about fate a lot over the course of my life and can say that I’ve always believed in it, but cannot say I was immersed in that belief until I entered my 20s. I always knew there was a plan for me and that there was a reason for everything that had happened in my life, but I was not convinced anything good would come my way until I learned how special and amazing life really is. The fact that we wake up every single morning is a miracle and there is a reason we do so. There is a reason why we have the family and friends we have, whether our relationship with them is great or something we are constantly working on for the better. There is a reason people walk in and out of our lives, as each one teaches us an invaluable lesson about ourselves. All of that is fate.

If you told me a year ago that I’d be where I was that day, I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet, there I was, in the middle of a forest preserve in Michigan, completely at peace with everything. There had been a gruesome accident on the highway I would be traveling on a day prior to my trek, but I made it there and back safe and sound. I got to spend the day with someone who I never thought I’d meet, the type of person who I only thought existed in my wildest dreams, yet there I was, walking by her side in this amazing place. Those things are fate to me and they become more real every single day.

People may think I’m crazy for putting so much faith into something I can’t see, and they have a point. It seems ridiculous to believe that there are so many things we have no control over, as many find comfort in being able to dictate everything that happens in their lives. There is also the “why do bad things happen to good people” argument, which is an even tougher mountain to climb. However true these notions may seem, in addition to the amount of frustration and confusion one feels while seeking answers,  there are simply too many amazing things that happen to think otherwise. Whether you see the good right now or down the road is not up to you. Just make sure you’re prepared for it when it comes your way. It will make you happy in ways you never thought were possible.


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