Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rain-Stomping Challenge

A new start for this blog! Less angst, more twitter brevity. Or something in between. We'll see.

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Today was my sister's birthday. We celebrated, as my family often does, by getting together for cake and ice cream, conversation, games, and a hike.

It was rainy and chilly out--a real change from this week's earlier sunny temps in the low 80s. But the rain drizzled out after a while, so after our cake and homemade ice cream (nice to have a BIL from a dairy family!), we roused ourselves to go out for a good stomp across the fields. It had stopped raining, so we could justify going out. We had brought rain gear and boots, but we still managed to get a little drenched. Overcast skies and misty air. It actually felt very refreshing as long as my core was comfortably warm. Fleece layers and G0re-Tex rain gear does wonders. My boots, however, are about shot for damp conditions. The socks got pretty wet by the end.

Down the hill, and around, across a small creek, up around the old beaver dam area, up another broad slope with a scattering of wild mustard, and another mile or so across the "front lawn," looping back along the drive. Overall, a fun stomp-about.

A friend once noted that my family hikes/walks at every major holiday. Yup. That and at birthdays, or any excuse to get together!

There must be other people or families who do similar walk-abouts, but I don't know them. We must have been raised in a vacuum, not knowing that there were others out there who thought/enthused about/did the same kinds of things, although most of my cousins enjoy similar excursions.

There is something bracing about both submitting to and protecting against the elements. When a snow storm comes, who stays inside? My mother goes for a walk! We have heard the story told gleefully innumerable times since childhood how when she'd go out on the lake with her uncle, he would throw the paddles overboard so that they would have to paddle with their hands to navigate.

I know my mother learned that kind of enjoyment of being outside in any kind of weather from her father, my grandfather, and her uncle. It's a cheerful gung-ho attitude, prevailing against discomfort. Who says life is easy? Maybe we test ourselves against predictable difficulties to practice our fortitude--and our attitude.

It appears that small discomforts challenge us, season us. So that when the larger challenges appear, we've learned to keep our heads, to hunker down, and maybe even to enjoy addressing the challenge.

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