It's Labor Day and Hurricane Gustav is in town. No, I don't mean THE Hurricane Gustav; he's obviously still down in Louisiana. I mean his close-together-isobar offspring, Son of Gustav. The Weather Channel says the wind is blowing around 35 mph in Minnesota today, and it made for a wild walk on the Central Lakes Trail this morning. Since the wind was out of the southeast, it was a crosswind--dramatic and frenetic. I just loved it. When I walked on the bridge over the channel between Lake Geneva and Lake Victoria, I was grateful I wasn't a high-profile vehicle or I might have been swept off the bridge into the choppy channel below. It was exhilarating.
While there are several things in my life I am grateful for, one of the top ten on my list is that I live just a few blocks from the Central Lakes Trail. I never, ever get tired of walking the trail because it's never the same. Sure, it's the same stretch of asphalt--but the weather, the seasonal changes, the hikers, the bikers, the in-line skaters, the dog walkers, the colors, the air--all of them keep changing.
It doesn't matter if I'm tired when I start my walk, I always feel more energized when I'm done. I can be lower than low when I start my walk, at the end of the worst day ever lived by any human being on the face of the earth; but by the end of my walk, I'm feeling pretty optimistic.
The Central Lakes Trail is actually the only form of recreational activity I do where I can come out financially ahead by doing it: the few dollars I spend on walking shoes and deoderant are quickly offset by the money saved in psychiatric fees and drugs for high blood pressure or arthritis. My biggest fear in life--hands down, my biggest fear--is that something will happen to me so I won't be able to walk every day. Three years ago, I developed shin splints and couldn't walk for a couple of weeks. They were among the worst couple of weeks of my life.
So today, when I was joined on my walk by the wild wind son of Hurricane Gustav, it just made the walk better--more dramatic, more dangerous, more exhilarating. Hair whipping, trees bent, white caps crashing--a walk on the wild side.