The Back Page – When to Walk; When to Go Home

The Back Page

When to Walk; When to Go Home

God enjoys his creation. So did the psalmist. So should we.
2017 was an unspectacular New England autumn, with leaves either remaining green, or simply
browning and dropping. Too warm and too dry. But today the remnants of Hurricane Nate breeze
through, the ground is soggy, and bright yellow leaves flit down amidst intermittent showers and gusts.
Good day for a walk.
Sporting shorts, shirt, socks, and shoes, I saunter forth into the gray and gales and showers. My
quarter-century-old Vasque Sundowners sport scuffed leather uppers and soles re-glued several times
(marine epoxy > Shoe Goo), but their intact Goretex linings should insure that my feet at least will stay
To the trailhead, into the woods, and up the hill. I stand atop ancient fractured granite boulders five
yards high and eight across. A gray blustery day. Trunks darkened with damp to almost black, slouching
in assorted sizes and slants below the mostly-green canopy, graced with occasional yellows at the tops.
Rain is steady but not heavy. Quiet except for the rushing, swishing breeze in the branches. No one else
around. Wind strengthens and shifts erratically. A more intense shower blows in, so I stand tight to a
tilting trunk to ward off the worst. Once it eases, on up the trail to a large granite bald spot and overview.
The ragged cloud ceiling hangs low, alternately obscuring and unveiling the larger range a mile across the
When the showers strengthen I duck back into the trees. Even if my soles weren’t shorn smooth, the
leaves and wet would render treacherous some of the stones and slopes. The post-hurricane gusts stiffen;
branches above rack and roar. Suddenly a twelve- footer falls just behind and to the left. Five minutes
later, crack! Yikes! Thud! Its twin, three inches in diameter, crashes directly on the trail four yards ahead.
“Missed me by that much!” Time to head home.
How many are your works, Yahweh! In wisdom you made them all (Ps 104:24).

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