Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Take A Hike

There is a reason that particular phrase is considered a not-so-subtle rebuke. Assigning a walk of any duration away from what are generally considered comforts: couches, chairs, televisions, is not generally a pleasant invitation. And yet I find myself periodically besieged by requests to do just that. They come, primarily, from my wife. She would very much enjoy having my company as she wanders through the relative splendor of nature that can be found in the parks and on the trails in and around our city. I feel like I got my share of hiking in before I was in high school. On one particularly memorable trip up fourteen thousand feet plus of Longs Peak, I can remember crawling the last hundred yards or so to the summit, just so I could say that I made it all the way to the top. I did it as much out of spite, since the trip was my father's idea, and he didn't even make it as far as I did, but I was determined to complete the trip. We left the parking lot long before sunrise, and when we all finally gathered back together and made it back to the car, it was dark again on the other side of the day. Somewhere in the middle of that day, I had been near the top of the world. The air was thin, but the view was incredible. I haven't spent the intervening years stuck to a couch. I have been running consistently through those decades, generally in urban loops that don't include much scenery or nature. I get my exercise, I just don't tend to commune with the flora and fauna as I go. There are times when I allow myself to be dragged along on one of my wife's expeditions that I marvel at the way she can stop and enthuse at each and every plant or rock formation. She takes great joy in being outside, when I am thinking about how long it will take me to get from point A to point B. All these distractions are keeping me from the destination. When will it end? Then, all of a sudden, we are back in the car, on our way back home. I have a number of "good husband points" to save me from having to go out again for a while. Maybe it will give me enough time to grow an appreciate traipsing about in the wilderness, but for now it just feels like being lost. Which, according to my mother, isn't always a bad thing.

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