When the going gets tough, I take a hike. Getting out of the office and to the top of a mountain every day helps me stay clear and postpone cynicism a bit longer. (It also helps my aging eyes to focus beyond the end of my nose.) In the process I get to see God’s amazing creation, shrink my ego, and hopefully run into some wildlife.

I’ve lived in suburbs, college towns, and big cities. When I lived in Europe, I often found myself trudging through canyons of concrete and commerce, where I developed a suffocating claustrophobia. Back then I never dreamed I’d be so lucky as to live where I can see for miles and breathe pristine air whenever I felt like it. (Hard to believe I could ever gripe about the cold, the ice, and the wind that are also part of the deal, but I do. What can I say, I’m a complex character.)

But truly, regardless of the weather, these excursions are huge blessings. Besides the overwhelming gratitude I feel for health and working limbs and appropriate clothing, I am often blessed—spoiled!—with poetry out there. How am I so lucky?! I’m humbled by the gifts of studying frost patterns at 4°F in January, running uphill past wildflowers in August, nuzzling moss in early May. How could I NOT write about that stuff? I recommend everyone, you especially, get into the habit of looking up, getting out, being grateful. Let me know how it goes.

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