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The calm after the storm
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Yesterday afternoon, a huge hailstorm descended upon Eugene, Oregon. Luckily, I heard the racket and watched balls of ice bouncing off the ground for quite some time. I’ve gotten caught in a couple of hail storms while walking, but none were anything like this. I was grateful not to get caught in this, I thought as I listened to the pings of ice against the window and clobber the grass and pavement. In fact, I had just looked at the weather app on the phone which claimed there would be no rain yesterday or today, and I thought, well I guess they forgot to include hail.

After the hail storm, the sun came out to play and shined brightly on everything, the whitened grass and pavement, and the small trees in the backyard. But lately, we haven’t been able to trust the sun because it could turn to rain at any time. But the sun looked especially bright and inviting yesterday, and it was 48 degrees according to the weather app, but I couldn’t quite trust that. I opened the front door and sunshine poured in. That was good enough for me. I put on my waterproof shoes and my waterproof windbreaker over my heavy Beatles sweatshirt jacket and headed out into the great outdoors after the biggest hailstorm I’ve seen in a long time.

I was surprised to see all the white ice on the neighborhood trail. It looked like snow had fallen. Could there have been snow before the hail? Naaa! A stream of water rolled down the trail because of melting ice. I wasn’t sure how far I’d go, but I definitely wanted to check out the trilliums in the woods to see if they were okay. As I trekked into the woods, I saw more white ice on the trail and alongside the trail. It definitely looked like snow, and the first bridge was white and icy, but people had already crossed the bridge, so now it was just slushy. I took it super slow and hung on to the side of the bridge. I didn’t want to take any chances. The sky looked so blue as if a storm had never occurred, and I hadn’t seen the sun shine so brightly in at least a week. I saw a couple of trilliums on the first part of the trail. I could tell they took a beating, but they seemed to be okay. There was even ice on the bench.

When I got to my favorite tree, I marveled at how beautiful the woods looked in the late afternoon sun, even though spring had just begun. And I appreciated the trees and the trail, the trilliums, the ferns, and all the other plants and flowers and wildlife here. I thought about how I “graduated” from physical therapy last Friday. All I could think of was walking in the woods again the entire time my foot was healing. Every day I’d think about it and visualize myself hiking on my favorite trail again. I remembered all the exercises I learned from Danny including balancing. Now I’d utilize all of those skills once again just as I did before here in the woods.

Then it occurred to me that if I could picture myself walking in the woods on a relatively difficult trail (considered “strenuous” in the map that shows all the Ridgeline trails in our area), then I could manifest other things too, like becoming a published writer which is my dream. I’m so close to finishing my book, but I haven’t quite taken it over the finish line yet. I’m still editing. I’m almost afraid to talk about it to people as if I will never finish it. But I will this time. Anything is possible and dreams do come true, and sometimes people with reconstructed feet (and I mean reconstructed, wow!) can trek up and down their favorite trails.

I did not hike to the top yesterday, but I did go quite a ways. The steepest hill was filled with slush and ice and though I knew I could get up the hill, I didn’t want to slide down. I never forgot that time a couple of years ago when I lost my balance on that part of the trail and literally “surfed” down the trail through the damp mud as if I was riding an invisible skateboard. It would have been thrilling if I hadn’t been terrified because I was sure at any moment I was going to fall down in a bad way. And when you’re not a kid, it’s really bad. But I never did. So I have learned to respect those steep hills.

I still checked out a bunch of trilliums which also looked like they’d taken a beating from the hail, but I think they’ll survive. At least I hope so! Trilliums are resilient yet delicate.

But for now, I felt happy with the way things were. I know that in a couple of months, the woods here will transform into a lush green wonderland and stay that way until Autumn. I talked to a guy on a bike and a couple of people who were happy to see me walking again without a boot, and we all agreed that we were drawn to this particular trail in the woods. It’s trippy how many people know you when you might not necessarily know them. And we all have something in common, our love for the woods and the trail.

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