I started walking in the gray cold rawness that comes with winter. No snow on the ground, just last fall’s display littered upon the ground. Today I walk because I am sad, and worried, and feel like my stomach has been punched. It is with no real purpose as I fly down the trail except to outrun my thoughts.
My Sidekick Pauli has a lump. A lump that is concerning. A lump that sidles up to her carotid artery. A lump that grew in a matter of two weeks. She goes in for surgery tomorrow morning.
This is my hiking companion we are talking about. My eyes are filling…just stop thinking. There is no need for “what ifs”! Get it together!
The stiff wind blew down my collar and I pulled my coat a little closer. I wasn’t even dressed particularly well for this hike. Whatever. I stopped to look out over the Potomac River noticing a sliver of blue on the horizon. What a beautiful winter sky. I tucked my head down and kept forward on the C&O Canal headed for the Catoctin Creek Aqueduct. Fifteen minutes before I had no idea that was where I was headed, but it was good to have made a decision; to have a focus.
I can’t think about this right now. I noticed a guy and his puppy coming towards me. As he passed, the puppy leaped towards me. I heard him say “C’mon Sally”. Sally?? I knew it before I inquired with excitement “Sally? Is that Sally Pretzel? !!!”…IT WAS!!!!!!!! Sally Pretzel is the puppy of one of my hiking friends! Her husband just happened to be walking her out on the canal today. It helped me to meet Sally Pretzel. She reminds me of Sidekick Pauli when she was a puppy! Little Sally made me laugh! 🙂 🙂
Heading on I notice the clouds had changed. There was more blue now. As I passed the Catoctin Tunnel it felt warmer and I loosened my coat for the last mile to the aqueduct. Down the path that overlooks the aqueduct to stretch a little before heading back to Point of Rocks.
On the way back the clouds behind me were dark gray, but bright blue skies were in front of me. I knew those blue skies weren’t going to last, but never mind…I was now hoping to see snow. A few flakes flew as a train rounded the rocks and clickity-clacked by me. The passing train made me feel I was walking a million miles an hour.
As the gray pushed over the sun once again, snowflakes fell more rapidly, then just like that…poof…they were gone, and I was left to walk the final mile in the gray cold rawness that comes with winter.