Oct 23 2008

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A Dismal Day

Posted at 10:08 am under Blog Post

Just past noon I left the house dressed in heavy boots, wools and rain gear.  The sky was steel gray and rain was falling steadily as it had been since daybreak.  It was one of those dreary autumn days when the chill in the air and the distinct lack of light reminds you that the warm season has ended and winter isn’t far away.  My thoughts ran as gray as the day.  I parked my car on the edge of town then stepped onto the Rail Trail with my head down.  I was brooding about all manner of troubles, ranging from the personal to the global.  I had plenty of material to work with.

Matika bounded down the stony path completely oblivious to the rain or my funky mood.  She sniffed at the grass along the edge of the trail, checked her p-mail, then bolted thirty yards just for the sheer joy of running.  I ignored her.

Gray is the best word to describe how I was feeling.  I was neither happy nor sad but teetering between the two, subconsciously trying to decide which way to fall.  The view across the fields seemed to match my mood.  The somber colors of the advanced season – burnt orange, rust, faded yellow and brown – dominated the nearby hills.  But here and there through the mist a burst of brilliant gold defied the otherwise somber landscape.  Yeah, it could go either way.

I slowly picked up my pace as I walked.  What started as a casual stroll became a forced march.  I shot past a mile marker where I usually turn around, crossed a road and kept going.  I got it in my head that enough sweat would swing my mood to the positive.  I’d been here before and that’s usually how things went.  But this time I just kept walking as my knitted brow strained against the cold drizzle.

Suddenly I stopped to look around.  A dead oak stood alone in a bright green cow pasture.  Beyond it a little color burst from an otherwise dark brown woodlot.  On the other side of the trail, a cornfield recently cleared of its bounty had been plowed over.  Beyond that rose those misty hills.  The clouds overhead seemed close enough to touch.  A dismal day to be sure, yet I felt strangely comfortable in it.  Glad I hadn’t stayed indoors.

Just then wave after wave of Canada geese flew past in long, undulating Vs.  There were hundreds of them, headed south at first then turning around – a great swirl of honking and wing flapping.  As I watched them turn, I couldn’t help but feel blessed by their presence.  Then it occurred to me how fortunate I was to be walking through this rural landscape despite the rain.  I turned around then kept walking.  Matika followed.  The geese landed in the barren cornfield next to the trail and nature’s endless cycles seemed palpable.  Another day, another season, and on and on like that into eternity.

While finishing the walk, I told my dog that life is good.  She responded with the big, dopey grin that all creatures living in the moment display when things are going well.  That was confirmation enough.  So I ambled the last half mile as slow as possible just make it last.  I was sweaty, chilled, and a little achy by the time I reached the car.  Matika was completely soaked.  But neither one of us could have been any happier.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “A Dismal Day”

  1. Deedee Burnsideon 24 Oct 2008 at 8:33 am 1


  2. Walton 24 Oct 2008 at 9:12 am 2

    I’m glad you like it, Deedee. You words are always encouraging.

  3. Phil Ruddon 27 Oct 2008 at 12:10 am 3

    PHEW! I thought for sure that post was going end with the dog taking a bullet. I’m so relieved, but now I need a stiff drink to shake of the detritus of that post.

  4. Walton 27 Oct 2008 at 10:47 am 4

    You’re an ornery cuss, aren’t ya, Phil? Read my posts at your own risk.

  5. reneeon 28 Oct 2008 at 6:47 pm 5

    this is an absolutely perfect example of why i became a regular reader of your blog.
    i think you precisely described many of my moods upon starting a hike. i call it mental health therapy (and i also think hiking with a dog helps).
    thank you for posting this!

  6. Walton 29 Oct 2008 at 10:17 am 6

    I had my doubts about blogging when I started several months ago. Your response, renee, encourages me to keep at it. Thanks!