Thursday, January 14, 2016

I get to do this

The snow begins to descend from the inky roiling blackness. A few thousand feet above me and a few miles southwest it hits the relatively warm air of California's central valley and turns to liquid. The marine air is blowing a steady twenty miles per hour. I can smell the ocean even though it is over one hundred miles away. I walk right into the teeth of the storm. The rain is blowing sideways right into my face so I bow my head. With my backpack and rain poncho on I am a crazy hunchback to the others, oh wait there are no others. No one is around even though I am walking right through town. The rain soaks the legs of my pants below by poncho and they stick like clammy plastic to the front of my legs. I can feel the cold water sucking the warmth right off my skin. The extra water courses down my legs and into my shoes. My socks are soaked and the water squishes through the mesh uppers of my running shoes.The rain that manages to hit my face beneath my hood stings like icy needles, Dripping off the end of my nose and mixing in with the rest of the gravity-fed moisture washing down the streets. I am a head-bowed humble supplicant bowing before the awesome power of nature. The wind roars above my head. The stark empty branches of the trees swing wildly. Street lights sway, causing the shadows to dance eerily in the periphery. "Spirit come like a mighty rushing wind." I've heard that phrase used at church and I wonder how many people actually have felt the awful, dreadfulness of walking exposed in the path of a storm.

It's four-thirty am and I am surprisingly warm under my poncho and mostly dry. The contrast is striking to me. My core temperature is maintaining a comfortable level as last night's dinner provides the fuel to keep the furnace burning. Why am I by myself? I am thoroughly enjoying myself as I train for my coming epic trip on the Pacific Crest Trail. Why are there so few no others out this morning enjoying the nature that El Nino is sending our way? One of the things that I am looking forward to discovering on my hike is the fellowship of others out on the trail that feel the same way. In town, in my everyday world, I feel like I am out of place. That I don't really belong here. Oh sure, I can cope with it all. I am a well-adjusted average guy. For the last thirty years I have raised a family of five awesome kids with my wife and love of my life. I go to church, pay my taxes, root for my favorite politicians. Deep down though, there is always the call of the trail inviting me out into the real world. I feel alone in this. I don't have anyone that I know who feels this haunting in their soul. It compels me to get out of bed in the dark and tromp out and through the puddles and driving rain. What a treat! What fun! I have the thought, "I get to do this!" Thank you God for the gift of life,

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