A Little Walk in the Woods

I was finally able to take a long walk in the Blue Hills this weekend — the first time since the wandering nutmeg incident. COVID/work fatigue likes to mess with my good intentions. It was a little disconcerting that it took a 2.5 hour hike to clear my head so to speak, but maybe that’s the wrong way of thinking about it. Maybe hours in the woods with only a handful of people and lots of silence is a great thing whether your mind can stay present or not. Reframing stuff seems to be the key for me in surviving this pandemic. And it’s getting to be a real pain in the ass.

Anywho, I was about 2/3 of the way along the loop trail, and I saw a side trail that went up to Fox Hill, presumably an overlook. I kept walking as it was later in the afternoon, and I was trained to hike in the White Mountains where bad decisions — like exploring a side trail that will add 20 minutes to a hike as the sun is getting low — can be deadly.

Did I mention working in hospital admin during COVID has, um, put me a bit on edge?

So I kept hiking and then stopped, looked at the time and reminded myself I brought my headlamp. For a hike in a place where you never completely lose the hum of distant traffic — I told you I’m on a bit of a hair trigger these days. And this trail is so trampled down, even a blind person could follow it with a stick as easily as a sidewalk.

I told myself there could be a good view. It could be a while before I get back here, and then I might have an actual real reason I can’t go up that trail. Like a broken leg, and then the food, water, and headlamp will come in handy as I wait for a rescue. Maybe I should have added an extra layer of clothes in my pack.

Nope, not going there. Carpe diem and all that crap, so I turned around and found the turn off, and sent the thoughts about the setting sun back to their little paranoia hole. The universe decided to award my efforts as I came upon this whimsical little pine.

When I got to the top, there wasn’t an obvious overlook, but I was OK with that, and turned around to head back down — and that’s when I saw it.

My city I love so much and have been so far from for so long. It gleamed in the late afteroon light and was framed by the other things I love, the trees and rocks and leaves that are here no matter what COVID does.

I got back on the trail and by the time I got close to the end of the loop, I had finally made a truce with my monkey mind and wasn’t having to keep dragging my thoughts back to the present. Feeling somewhat at peace, I followed the curve of the trail and suddenly an entire cemetary came into view. Not an old, interesting one, but a current one. Complete with visitors. And shiny new headstones.

Well. Seems like the universe just wanted to be clear with me. I can wah wah wah about COVID and my life all I like, but here is the other option. Fine, message received, universe. Carpe diem! Yay!

As continued walking and pondering the cemetary, the universe had one more little gift for me.

“Hope you’re enjoying your day,” said a deep voice coming up from behind me, and as I moved to the side, the most beautiful ass in shorts ran by me. I definitely stayed present for that entire long straight stretch of trail. And there was no pain with that ass at all.

Carpe diem.


  1. The drama of the trail choice helped me be open to my own “present moment” dilemmas in the age of Edgy Nerves. Tense to read it, but then the view… so thanks for letting us live the walk with you.

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