Taking a walk on a windy day

I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying that “April showers bring May Flowers.” Given the weather this month, I’m tempted to wonder what’s supposed to happen in May after April freezes. Normally, at our house, we can be done lighting the furnace for heat at the end of March. Well, here it is, the middle of April, and I’ve just come upstairs from putting another log on the fire. Part of me is grateful that most of the nasty bugs haven’t become bothersome thanks to the cold. The other part of me is beyond ready for an end to hoodie season and the ability to wear shorts for more than two hours of an afternoon.

I’m definitely not the person to look to for updates on current haute couture. Heck, I’m the one that wears an octopus hat around town from time to time. This weather has me changing clothes more often than a vaudeville star on a busy Saturday night. Take into account that I’m trying to get more physical activity in (and the body temperature changes that accompany that), and it gets to the point of ridiculousness.

Take last Tuesday, for example. I had been looking forward to a walk in the warm sunshine all week. Naturally, it was chilly in the morning, so a hoodie and jeans it was. As the morning wore on, a T-shirt became more comfortable. Finally, after lunch, the sun was shining, it was warm outside . . .time for a walk. After such a long winter, what better pick-me-up than a dose of solar Vitamin D? Tank top and shorts it was. I slipped into my trusty walking shoes and slipped out the door.

And promptly almost blew away. Or, I would have, if I hadn’t been blessed with a substantial physique. The wind was HOWLING. And here I was, getting ready to take a walk down a gravel road. The thought of staying home flitted across my mind. Two miles in this wasn’t going to be anywhere close to fun. But still, the sunshine was warm, I was in dire need of exercise, and I sure wasn’t going to shrink from a little walk.

You may have heard of resistance training, dear reader. Not only was I trying to walk uphill at a reasonable clip, but I was walking into a stiff wind blowing straight into my face at a somewhat greater rate of speed. I felt extremely resisted. My trusty Fitbit later recorded that section of my walk with heart rates near peak range for most of it. Dust devils spun up and blew towards me, sandblasting me every few minutes. Passing vehicles did the same, kicking up clouds of dust that felt like they had tiny teeth.

My relief at the top of the hill was great. It was all downhill from here (at least on this leg of the route)! Alas, it was also short-lived. I felt like I was being frog-marched down the hill at a speed slightly faster than I wanted to go. Speed might not have been a problem, except for the random ping-pong ball-sized chunks of limestone that threatened to trip me or roll an ankle when I least expected it. At least, walking with the wind, the dust blasted my back and calves, instead of my face.

I stopped in at home for a quick drink. I didn’t dare put on any Chapstick for fear that my lips would turn to mud before I got back to wash them off. Round two proved as challenging as the first. Granted, I wasn’t walking up quite the same incline, but I was already getting tired. I slogged on, watching the wheat ripple like the ocean in a storm. The sunlight beat down on the white limestone of the road, so bright against the almost metallic blue of the sky and the lush green wheat. I savored the sight for several moments before turning back into the wind and narrowing my eyes against the dust. (Of course, I didn’t wear sunglasses. They leave tan lines.)

Back at home, I dropped, exhausted, into my favorite recliner with a large glass of ice water and some fancy Chapstick. My legs were rubbery, my heart was still pounding, and my contact lens was torn where a particularly aggressive pebble had blown into my eye. I felt terrific. I had done what I set out to do and succeeded in the face of adversity.

It sure would be nice if every challenge in life was as easy to beat as just taking a walk on a windy day. Lately I’m finding that the method is pretty much the same. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, watch where you step, and trust God to bring you safely home. It will all be worth it in the end. Be safe out there, folks.

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