March 15, 2013
It has been six months since I fell through some shelving (pallet racks) I was building in my pole barn. Six months since I shattered and dislocated one of the bigger bones in my foot. Six months since I have walked pain free.
I ran across the picture above recently and it home. I have a much greater appreciation now for the fact that someday hiking will be something I am unable to do. It has been lost to me for the most part during these past six months. And with my next surgery a few days away, it will probably be a little while until I can walk even as I do now, much less normally. I am looking forward to being back to normal and getting out to hike miles and miles without regard for how my foot feels. That day will come. As I told my doctor, I will know I am healed when I am looking down upon Yosemite Valley again following a long climb up the trails that wind their way through enormous boulders, beautiful trees, and inspiring waterfalls. I’ll take a ten mile hike through the gorgeous woods of Michigan as well. Why be greedy?
I am thankful for what I can do now though. Maybe I can’t hike ten miles right now, but at least I can get out into the woods and escape into nature. There may be a day, hopefully long in the future, where that will not be the case. I appreciate what I have now, and long to have back many of those times where I spent more time reading about hiking than getting out into the world and actually hiking. Not all of them, as a good hiking book or trail journal helps to inspire future saunters through the woods. A good nature book helps me appreciate what I see when I am out there. A good history of our parks helps me to appreciate all of the hard work and inspired individuals through whose efforts our parks are now here for us to enjoy. But no book is better than a hike through the tall trees of California, a climb along a mountain stream, a paddle down a quiet river, or a stroll through a local nature preserve.
Hike while you can. Don’t wait. There are many among us who can’t even now. Someday I will join that number, but until then I plan to appreciate every step. Time to get out in the woods.