Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Beautiful Day

So what it is about going outside in sloppy weather that makes a body feel so cozy when you come back inside and dry off?

This afternoon, I sat on the couch just wishing the rain would go away. To my credit, it was a downpour. Who wouldn't want to snuggle down into her lovely new fleece blanket and go back to sleep when the rain was pounding that way? When Mike and I bought our house, with all its skylights, I never imagined there could be any disadvantages to having skylights, but when it's late on a Saturday afternoon in December and you're sitting under one of those skylights, the rain and the hail will not motivate you to go outside no matter how much the dog needs a walk.

Both Mike and Teddy needed some exercise and I guess I did too. I even folded a couple of loads of laundry before we left. That's how much I didn't want to go. I hate folding laundry.

But I went, dropped Mike off at his gym where he could run on the treadmill in relative comfort, and took Teddy to the off-leash dog park in Beaver Lake. Maybe I could hunker down with other dog owners and grouse about the weather while the dogs played. No such luck. There was one dog already there and Teddy didn't want to play with her.

So, I headed off down the trail. It was squishy, but then there was a little light filtering down through the evergreens. The smell was sweet and fresh, like balsam. I would love to tell you what that smell is, but I've never been with a botanist when I smelled it. Maybe it's the Douglas Fir. There is no smell of home like that smell. It was there in those woods.

We crossed little bridges. We passed stands of sword fern. We found the lake and the lodge. For Teddy, there were a couple of dogs to meet. There's no type of person who uses a park as much as the ones with dogs. There were bubbling brooks and not-too-stagnant wetlands. And the trees. There is something about standing among Western Red Cedar, and Douglas Fir, and Western Hemlock that makes you breathe differently. When they're more than three hundred years old, it's even better. When they get  to be old growth, five or six hundred years old, you feel thrumming of the universe without even realizing it. It's the same feeling you get when you stare at the stars on a summer night, a sense of 'old.'

Old is good. No matter what all those commercials would tell you about the ancient, the wrinkles, the imperfections, old is good. And when you're standing among trees that are older than your own government, you feel time slowing down. You slow your pace, or I do at least. I'm not one of those hikers who marches through the countryside. I could hike all day, but I do it at my own pace usually  stopping to look at details and ambling along.

The walk tonight was just long enough to affect my state of mind. I didn't care that rain was dripping off the back of my beret onto my neck. I didn't mind the mud splashing up onto my track pants I hadn't bothered to change out of when I left the house. Too soon, I had to leave the stand of evergreens during deep dusk because Mike's gym was closing at 5:00 and I didn't want him standing in the rain to wait for me. Isn't that ironic? I was passing time out in the rain, effectively waiting for him, but I didn't want him to have to stand in the rain for me. I'm telling you that it didn't feel at all the same. I wanted to stay out in that rain just a little bit longer. Teddy did to. When we got back to the car, he stood there and stared at me as if I'd just stolen his cookie.

When I drove up to the YMCA, Mike was just coming out of the door. But then, more closely tuned to what was outside my window, I noticed three deer at the edge of the trees. I rolled down the window and got Teddy's attention. "Look!" I said.

"It's two bucks and a doe," Mike said.

We sat there with our windows down in the pouring rain as the deer ate and cavorted and looked cautiously at us now and then.

It was a beautiful day for a walk outside.

Thank you for listening, jb

Update: Today, I read this.

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