A Walk in the Western Woods

On Saturday my daughter M. and I visited Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. At first she was reluctant, didn’t want to get out of bed early on a Saturday morning (9:30 AM, sheesh), and complained that the ninety minute campus tour would be boring. She dilly dallied in the hotel getting ready. Twenty minutes into the tour she decided that Western was her destination- the woods, the hiking, the atmosphere, and “cute boys” (her words) reinforced her firm decision that Western was now her first choice in higher education. She thanked me after the tour for making her go, and we bought the obligatory college sweatshirt at the campus bookstore.

Later that day we walked around downtown Bellingham, which has an old West logging town feel to it, poked around the Whatcom County Museum, and grabbed a late lunch at the Bayou Bay restaurant. M. then insisted, “Since I went on the tour, you have do so something, too. Let’s go hiking!”

I said, “What about urban hiking? We can walk around the city.”

“No,” she responded. “That’s not hiking. We have to go in the woods.”

“How about the arboretum woods up by the university?” I asked. She liked that idea, and we drove back to campus. On the drive over, I dreaded the hike.

Although I actually enjoy walking and hiking, I’ve been out of practice and gained about thirty-five pounds after I returned to my drugs of choice- sugar and ice cream. I’ve slashed my intake and haven’t imbibed in ice cream for quite some time now. Yet the lack of exercise and evidence of the addiction has hung onto my body like an unwelcome, annoying guest. I keep hoping that I’ll be able to make it disappear with it off with my Kenmore vacuum or that it will vanish after a short sidewalk jaunt. Alas, that hasn’t happened yet.

We parked the car in the south end of campus and started up on the path through the woods. It was all uphill. M. bounced ahead, snapping pictures along the way. We saw a guy carrying groceries and a pack of stoners in the middle of the path passing a Swisher Sweet around, and I kept trudging after her. Then she found this little path that led up to a tower atop the hill. “Mom, you can do this!” she chimed, as I slogged up the hill like an asthmatic zombie.

When we got to the top of the hill, we climbed up the tower. As I bumbled up the steps, I realized that in order to shed these few extra pounds, I need to stop calling myself an FFP (Formerly Fit Person) and call myself a Future Fit Person, and just keep walking on a mostly daily basis. I am grateful to my daughter for pushing me up the wooded hill to that realization.

That day both of us stepped outside of our comfort zones, with encouragement from the other. Sometimes, that’s all we need to get on the trail of a new destiny.

 

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