Bliss Foundation Ph

Overcoming Barriers

Today, I went out for a hike as a “celebration” of all the actions I took for my dreams for Bliss Scholarship Foundation sharing this moment with an energizing and inspiring person, Rukshana. I haven’t hiked enough for me to say that I am totally in love with it or the other way around so when Rukshana said it’s a way for her to celebrate her wins, it’s a new perspective that I am now introduced to.

We went to Dry Creek Falls in the Columbia Gorge. The Gorge is definitely a place I wish I visited more often because of the spectacular view of the Columbia River and all of bunch of nature’s gems in and around it. It’s hard to believe that when I was in college, I actually came across a book with a compilation of photographs of Oregon. At the time, I was determined to ‘someday visit Oregon to see all it’s beauty.’ And yet here I am, almost 7 years residing here and still only been to the Gorge about 3-4 times.

While on our drive towards the location, it started to rain heavily. We got worried there for a bit but was relieved after realizing that we just passed that rain patch. After parking in a designated parking lot, the car facing north towards the Columbia river, we headed off away from the river and into the trail. The trail was dry and few clouds present in the sky. The vibrant foliage were embellished with small white, purple and orange flowers. There was an intriguing fern that kept grabbing my attention. I don’t know what it’s called but the stems look like of a maiden hair fern. It had slender black stems branching out to up to seven smaller stems and all parts covered with leaves. The black stem appeared like a line art outline from a coloring book.

The very first time I met Rukshana was from an evening event called “Fireside Stories” back in 2018. I knew a couple of speakers in that event and there were at least ten of them. Her story about her conversation with her grandmother as they were looking at a mango tree has really struck me. That was where she and her fellow kids, at the time, used to learn how to read and write because they didn’t have any school. Her grandma encouraged her to take action with the resounding words saying “If not now, then when? If not you, then who?” Rukshana had long since built elementary schools in rural areas in Mozambique.

I really enjoyed our insightful conversations while walking the path. I have learned so much about her and all the other things she does that just galvanized my thoughts of following her footsteps and be as confident like her.

As we got closer to the waterfalls, we could hear the rush of the water down the stream. The last stretch of our hike towards the waterfalls was an incline. As soon as we could see the view of the falls, wow it was stunning! I could barely take my eyes off of it’s wonderful beauty. I looked at how the water hits the rocks but doesn’t stop flowing. It just doesn’t. It keeps on going and flowing. It finds another way to get passed it or around it.

This reminded me of a trip my husband and I did when we drove in the coastal roads of Seaside, Oregon to the San Francisco, California. There was a part of the ocean where the waves ebbs and flow into what once was a small crack and because of that, it cut through the rocks, continuing to erode and split it to this day.

We all have rocks acting as barriers in our lives. But like water, if we stay consistently flowing, we can work around it or split them in half to pave our way.

Diane Peralta

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