He is always trying to get me to try new things. It’s a loathsome habit.
These new things are almost always outside. Also, gross. And yet, this was a weird day. I wasn’t really well-dressed for the occasion. I almost never am. In jeans and a thoroughly inappropriate attitude for the afternoon, he and the dog and I rode to a state park a couple of hours outside Baltimore and went for a leisurely hike.
Well, it was supposed to be leisurely. But I was out of shape, out of practice, out of patience. The sun was beating down on me like anger, and I wanted to be mad at him for insisting that we do this, that we be here.
And then I realized that everything around me was beautiful.
The shot you see above was actually pretty minimally retouched. A little fade, a touch more green, because I’m an artist. But it’s really the best memento that I have of several hours spent largely absent the company of other humans. A very inquisitive Vizla sniffed around all over the place and peed more than I thought necessary. We stopped a couple of times, mostly to allow me to get over myself with a quick smoke, and then later for a home-packed lunch.
But the nature of nature is such that it doesn’t need embellishment to be genuinely stunning. And at some point, probably when my legs were splayed out over the edge of an extremely terrifying precipice, the bigness of the earth swallowed me whole and spit me back out again.
Simon looked over at me, a smirk tugging at his lips. “Aren’t you glad we came?” I grumbled something unintelligible and turned my head, so that he wouldn’t see my face. I hate telling him that he’s right.
Even the fact that I didn’t want to be there could not make that afternoon less pleasurable, less worth the exhaustion and the sweat, less hilarious as we watched Thor routinely scamper off past the tree line to chase a squirrel. After days, weeks, months of keeping up with my own personal hustle, it helped everything to go out of my comfort zone, and be confronted by nature’s largesse.
Try it, if you can make the time. You’ll wonder what you were waiting for.