I began 2020 with a hike. It surprised me and everyone I know. I had read about it in the newspaper. I’m of an age that enjoys reading the newspaper. Everyday, I get up, make the bed, go to the bathroom, make a cup of coffee, fetch the newspaper, sit down and read it. It is one of the joys of retirement, because it replaces, get in the car and drive to work. The reward is typically simple leisurely self-indulgence; however, every once in a while, I am inspired by something I read to do some activity that is rewarding and self-indulgent.
So when I read about “trekking in to 2020 with a hike in one of the State’s Parks” I was hesitantly all in. I asked friends if they would accompany me, and was almost disappointed when one agreed. That constituted a contractual agreement to get up and get moving to start off the New Year. And we did. We made the hour-long drive to the State Park, while reviewing New Year’s Day trivia. The newspaper article had said that the 1.5 mile hike would be broken by New Year’s Day trivia contests, and “interactive frivolity.”
When we arrived at the park, the Ranger leading the hike explained that the hike’s destination was 1.5 miles away, and then we would again hike 1.5 miles to return. That was exactly 1.5 miles longer than I had anticipated. We did perform very well during the trivia contests, winning our choice of either a frisbee or a plastic set of binoculars. We both chose the latter. We performed moderately well during the first half of the hike which was predominantly uphill, and much better on the second half which was predominantly downhill. At our aforementioned destination (the top of the hill) we played kazoos and sang “Auld Lang Syne” (which we knew to have been written by Robert Burns in Scotland in the year 1788, translating as “times gone by,” because that was part of the trivia we had studied on our drive to the park) in an act of interactive frivolity. We were part of a group that got separated from the Ranger on our return trek, adding .5 miles to our hike. I was very proud!
The next day I awoke with sore feet, aching legs, and the burning desire to take down my Christmas decorations, so I did. My Christmas decorations are a compilation of artifacts from my Mother’s creative life (stitcheries, stoneware representations of historic New Mexico churches), my children’s childhoods and my marriage. Taking them down is always emotional, and typically done on New Year’s Day, because the day after was historically a work day, but now I’m retired and am able to go on long hikes on New Year’s Day. With the exception of the calendar day, the taking down of Christmas was much like years past: filled with memories. I realized that they were happy memories, and that I didn’t have to go to work the day after taking them down, which reminded me that life is good.
Today, I got around to making my New Year’s resolutions. They are very familiar because I resolve to do these things every year: move, write, learn and create more. The difference this year, is that I began the year with a hike. I’ve never done that before, so this may be the year that I experience success in keeping my resolutions. I think it’s a good sign that my feet, and legs don’t hurt as much today as they did yesterday. I’m going to move along and create something (right after I pet my cat).