I knew that one of my classes at the Gymnasium was canceled today, but I wasn’t sure which one so I showed up at the regular time, 9:40 a.m. It was the first class, so I needed to come back at 10:45.
Just down the hill from the class, there is a lovely little stream. I’d explored it a bit in one direction, so I thought going the other would make for a pleasant, short walk or perhaps I’d find a place to sit down and read.
(I’m reading The Dancing Wu Li Masters. I tried it when it came out, like about 1980 or so, and found the physics a bit tough going, especially for a book with the total premise of simplifying physics, but I’m giving it another go now because it’s on my shelf and unread. I’m still finding the physics a bit over my head, but this time I’m going to plow through it.)
Anyway, the houses and restaurants soon faded away and I found myself in the middle of a wood which, except for a sign nailed to a tree saying “Natural Monument,” and the paved bike trail on which I was walking, was pretty close to its native state.
My mind wandered. I startled a couple of ducks and they flew away.
I got to the head of the stream, or at any rate where the water was pouring out of a big, round, concrete tunnel; I assume there was a reservoir on the other side.
I checked my phone and it was just about the perfect turnaround point. A nice, leisurely walk back and I’d be in plenty of time. I decide to cross the stream and walk back along the other side.
The path on the other side soon ended and I found myself walking through an unmowed meadow, with grass almost up to my knee. My tennis shoes were soon soaked. Oh, well, I thought. I’ll be back on urban ground soon enough.
Then, I came to a fence. A tall fence, which went right down to the stream. (Just the other side of the fence, I saw a deer running away. I was pissed off, but it was still beautiful.) I considered taking my shoes off and wading across and, in retrospect, that would have been the smart move but I decided to go back to the head of the stream, cross to the side I’d come up, and change my casual amble for a somewhat swifter pace.
I wound up running. Now, I used to run a fair bit but recently I get puffed if I have to run more than a half a block to catch a bus. This was 20 minutes of walk/run/walk/run.
By the time I got back to school I was 10, almost 15 minutes late, sweating like a pig and breathing heavy. The students didn’t mind, they’d had a bit of free time, and no teachers even noticed.
The other thing, the part that surprised me: I felt great.