Hiking Homilies #2

Sometimes there is a trail you have hiked many times. You know the twists and turns, the hard parts and the easy downhills. You know the spots where there will be shade and the good places to stop for lunch. A familiar trail is like an old friend. There can be small surprises, a hawk circling overhead, a butterfly perched on the trail, or a snake sliding across in front of you. All of these small surprises are familiar, expected in a way. They keep you interested, but it is still the same trail and you know how to keep going and you are confident that you will make it back home. You believe that whatever happens the trail will still be your friend.

But sometimes conditions change. It is much hotter than usual, which makes the uphills harder. You twist your ankle on a loose rock. The snake you see looks like a rattler and coils to block your path. Your friend has moved ahead and you feel so alone. How will you ever make it home? Your faith in the trail and your ability to hike it is shaken.

2020 is like that in many ways. Democracy has taken a strange and dangerous turn. The trail is washed out, eroded next to a steep drop off. You are sick at heart and unsure who the virus snake will bite first. There is no map, because suddenly the familiar trail is lost, and you will need to bushwhack your way across a thicket of poison oak and endless fears.

Hang onto your hiking poles, change your socks, and never, ever, hike alone.

In April of 2018, I began a journey to improve my health. I have lost over 185 pounds, coming down from 322 to 137. I blogged about that journey every week until October 4,2020. Those posts can be read here.

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