Posted by: Grandma LaLa | January 31, 2010

Paraphrasing Spock

My husband, who is unemployed right now, had an unexpected opportunity to work on Thursday night.  This meant that he needed to take our family car and that I needed to take the bus from the office to home.  Well …. almost home.

From the bus stop to our front door, it’s about two miles.  Since the temperature had already dropped to two degrees, it was a very brisk walk to complete my commute.  I found myself silently grateful that I’d trusted my early-morning instinct to wear slacks, rather than a dress, to the office that day.

Two miles in two-degree temperatures after a long day at the office.  Invigorating.

Since my January 1st resolution to get more exercise, I’d been wistfully thinking about taking some long winter hikes.  But the combination of heavy snows, few shoveled sidewalks in our neighborhood, and personal inertia kept me wishing, rather than walking.  Until Thursday.

I could have called a neighbor to pick me up, but decided instead to take the opportunity as a step from wistful to wakeful.

Yes, my legs were cold.  Yes, my arms were cold.  Yes, my cheeks and nose were cold.  But it was worth it for such an energizing end to my day.  So invigorating to walk briskly.  So stimulating to feel the cold air warming as I breathed it in.  So inspiring to notice the nearly-full Wolf Moon, brightly illuminating a cloudless sky.

That was Thursday.  Perhaps there was something about the personal momentum from that energizing walk that prompted me to mention to my husband on Saturday morning the possibility of hiking together in the woods.  We’d talked about doing it.  We’d missed doing it.  But we’d just not taken the initiative to move from wishing to walking.  Until Saturday.

We drove an hour to Oregon – the town, not the state.  It’s probably been a decade since we hiked at Lowden Miller State Forest, our destination for the day.  They’ve improved the trail markers since the last time we walked in this forest, which was helpful since the path was ice and snow covered with a lingering three-inch pack.

We hiked the 1½ mile Logger’s Trail in daylight, rather than moonlight.  Balmy temperatures in the upper teens and lower twenties, with barely any breeze.  Thankfully, we were able to concentrate on navigating the trail, its unevenness magnified by the ice, snow, and tracks from other hikers.

This hike was inspiring in a different way than the one on Thursday in the city.  The stillness of the woods when we stopped to catch our breath.  The crisp crunching of our boots in the snow.  The sight of other footprints from creatures also enjoying the forest …. rabbits, squirrels, white-tailed deer, and a human child whose small boot prints stayed close to those of an adult human and a dawg.

Traversing the rugged surface twisted my ankles, my knees, and my hips, even with the support of my hiking stick.  It reminded me that walking on clear sidewalks doesn’t really prepare us for hiking in the relative wild of a state forest.  Maybe that’s a life lesson, I mused.  All the more reason that I’m glad that I trusted my longing this week.

As we left the forest on Saturday afternoon, I thought of Spock’s traditional greeting in Star Trek and repeated it to myself, “Live long and prosper.”

No, I thought.  The more apt greeting for me would be paraphrasing Spock.  “Live, long, and prosper.”


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