Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year and Hiking

As I predicted, I'm at home on New Year's Eve in front of this laptop after having hiked five miles around Burke Lake this afternoon. One of my neighbors was cajoled into having a New Year's Eve celebration, but having only sent out invitations last night, many of the folks who were invited had already made plans. So instead of celebrating New Year's Eve, we will gather at my neighbor's house tomorrow to celebrate the New Year. I am accustomed to being alone on New Year's Eve. I was never one for going out. I don't like driving home in the cold in evening clothes. I don't like negotiating the beltway after midnight. It's much easier for me to stay home and read a book.

But I did begin the day with a hike around Burke Lake. As a group of about 20 hikers braved the high winds (up to 50 m.p.h. gusts) and intermittent cold, I thought about how we redefine actions as we age and our bodies change. Now, my son and I used to skip, walk, saunter, hop, run, and jog around this lake when he was three years old. I never realized it was five miles around the lake, otherwise I probably would not have insisted that my three year old son join me in circumambulating the lake. I just recall that whenever we went on our excursion to Burke Lake, afterward he would promptly fall asleep in his car seat en route home. Now I know why. So, just imagine how confident I was when I realized that five miles around the lake is a piece of cake because I had done this before with my three year old. This is not a hike, I told myself! But, since I tend not to engage in moderate exercise, it's either all or nothing, I decided that I need not push myself; that five miles is plenty distance for a windy, winter afternoon.

A tree limb fell twenty feet or less in front of us as soon as we began the hike. The clouds gathered ominously, and I turned to the woman walking beside me and said, "if we were in Michigan, these would be snow clouds." She responded, "we are not in Michigan." But as soon as we turned the bend, the snow began pirouetting from the sky to confirm my lifetime practice of reading the clouds, much to everyone's surprise.

The hike was moderately paced. At one point we had to slow down because a tree fell across the trail, and it would have been too difficult for some of the hikers to walk off the trail and around the fallen tree. We opted to stoop under the felled tree. As I stooped, I was reminded of my physical therapist's warning to retain my mobility, flexibility, and balance as I age. For this reason, I am back in the yoga studio. As everyone stooped to get under the limb, me and another hiker assisted people, and I noted how difficult it was for some to stoop close to the ground and get beneath the fallen tree. In fact, three people opted to crawl on their knees. Some hikers needed assistance rising after they cleared the limb. So for some, I suppose, the hike proved to be a bit more rigorous than anticipated. But we all made it to the end of the five mile hike in tact. No injuries. No one winded. No complaints.

I am grateful to have had a prosperous and rewarding year. I've made some new friends, reconciled relations with two lifelong friends, and fine tuned my life's work. My son ended the semester on a high note! He's happy and grounded. And this makes me happy. As the year closes, I always list my ten top priorities. This past year, I crossed out eight of the ten top priorities. Two of the priorities were impractical given our financial markets this year, but the eight other priorities were quite attainable.

Have a good New Year's Eve.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Michele,

It is great that you took a healthy, brisk 5 mile walk and a limbo move was made in order to accomplish the task set before you. Good start for the new year. The yoga class is perfect - in my opinion. I have attended a few and each class affords me a session with a shrink for free. Getting in touch with who we are by exerting ourselves in Yoga allows us - in my opinion - to regain or gain a balance within ourselves. Yoga exposes our true strengths and the lasck there of. Tap dancing is definately a good piece to incorporate in the puzzle of life.

I thank you for sharing and applaud your wisdom and tenacity.

Love, Cyndi

M.L. Simms said...


Happy New Year! It is good hearing from you. I will call you soon.


E. said...

Hmmm...New Year Predicting, cloud reading and yoga.

Wish I had such esoteric gifts. Maybe I too would be crossing things off my year list!

Rochelle said...

this is interesting! i'd love to hear more about your work!