Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Walk in the Woods (with apologies to Bill Bryson)

I awoke today at about 3:30 am with my expected post-vacation migraine. This was a doozy that immobilized me for much of the morning despite my attempts to medicate and rest.

After my headache began to subside a little, I decided that today was too nice of a day to wallow in my misery inside on the sofa with a pillow over my face. My dog, Tully, needed a walk, and I needed a life. I decided to go for a walk.

The Three Notch Trail is a Rails to Trails project that runs in front of our house. I have walked small parts of it, but I haven’t been to the ends. Even during its busiest times, the trail lacks the clutter and danger from cyclists training for big events like the STP (I stopped using the Sammamish River Trail for that very reason.) Instead, it attracts crowds of families with kids on tricycles and dogs on leashes, casual cyclists, and skaters. It is a wild, relaxing respite from the chaos that surrounds the DC area as it traverses farmland, backyards, and woods.

Today I resolved to walk to one end. Tully and I headed north on the trail and walked about 2 ½ miles to the northern terminus in Charles County. The trail is expected to be extended, but for now that’s the limit. On another day, Tully and I will explore what lies to the south.

Along the way, I smelled the wisteria that is in full bloom along sections of the trail and inhaled some refreshing but seriously pollen-thickened air. I saw all the deciduous trees bursting into green, rabbits taunting the dog, the puffy white clouds floating overhead, and the creeks trickling along around me. I listened to the sounds of birds, crickets, bees, frogs, and squirrels. I felt the warmth of the sun and the refreshing breeze as I worked off some extra calories I found while in Europe. I reflected in all that is beautiful in my surroundings and how blessed I am to be part of it.

Am I all better? No. My head still hurts a bit, my allergies are now bugging me, and various body parts are reminding me of their middle-aged existence. Do I care? No. My mind is refreshed and alert, my mood is elevated, and my dog is exhausted. I feel energized and happier than I did before I left home. All the same problems still awaited me when I returned, but I had a better attitude in dealing with them.

The next time someone tells me that they are suffering from a migraine, don’t be surprised if my response is, “Go take a hike!” I mean well.

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