Friday, April 20, 2007

and I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills

The sun came out today, and my god, what a wonderful sight to see against the backdrop of blue, blue sky!

Just five days ago, our county was in a state of emergency from the flooding, and all week it was grey skies and drizzles.

But oh, that sun!

I finished a major report today for our accreditation entity. Another one of my responsibilities, and if not done, it could cause us to lose our undergrad accreditation. But hey, no pressure, right? Anyway, I locked the report against further changes, turned off my computer, and left work a whole 15 minutes early. Which is a big deal considering I'm usually there an hour late. I'm not a workaholic, but I am conscientious.

On the way home I put on Santana Shaman, and just enjoyed the ride home in the sunshine, wind blowing my hair through the open window. The thought came to me so suddenly...I want to go for a walk when I get home, I thought. Outside, in the sunshine and soft breeze.

I've been neglecting my workouts, and the thought of getting onto the elliptical, even if I could run while watching Ghost Whisperer, was not enticing in the least. I wanted to be outside, which is not usually like me, given my skin's penchant for serious sunburns. But I wanted to be outside in the sun today.

So I managed to get home at 5:20, instead of the usual 6:30 or 7:00, and I quickly changed into some sweats and sneakers, pulled my hair back into a ponytail, and headed out the door to the aqueduct.

The aqueduct is a pathway that runs north/south through western Westchester County, along the pathway of the aqueduct that used to (I don't know if it still does) supply fresh water to NYC. In my area, it's a dirt pathway, further north it is sometimes gravel, sometimes paved as well. The path is used by walkers, cyclists, and dog owners. It's generally safe -- at least during the daytime -- and people are friendly without being too friendly. And we're lucky to live right around the corner from it.

I walked south on the pathway, because that's the most pleasant walk. You have a view of the Hudson River on your right, some quite pretty homes (but not mcmansions), and at one point, the path runs through a small nature preserve.

I set out at a very brisk pace, watching the sun begin to set over the river, nodding my 'hellos' to the other path users' greetings. Listening to the birds, there appeared to be a few distinctly different songs coming from them. It's actually quite beautiful music when you're not trying to sleep at 4:00 am.

I noticed that the further south I walked, the wetter the dirt was in spots. It was the remainders from our storm. There were a few spots where I had to take a half-dozen steps in some serious muck to continue on the trail, but I wasn't stopping for a little muck.

Then I saw the huge tree that had come down over the path during the storm, completely blocking the way. Someone had come along with a chainsaw and removed enough branches that at one side of the pathway, a traveler could walk under an archway created by the trunk of the tree sans branches.

And then there was the waterfall, coming down the high hill on the left, under the trail, and down the hill on the right toward the river. Only, the waterfall wasn't really supposed to be there -- it was a remnant of the storm and will no doubt disappear in a day or two.

And always, the river and the sun on my right...until I turned around to head back home. All told, I spent an hour and a half walking the aqueduct. And every second of it was a pleasure.

Unlike a workout on equipment indoors, which usually just leaves me completely exhausted, this walk had me invigorated, from start to finish. I'll admit that toward the end my knees and hips begin to feel the impact; even a walk on hard dirt puts more pressure on the joints than a run on an elliptical. But an aleve took care of that when I returned home.

I came back so refreshed that rugrat noticed when I arrived home, and she's decided she wants to come along. And although it sounds goofy to think about this when it's a walk for physical exercise, if it's nice out tomorrow I'm taking the camera with me. I want to capture some of the beauty of the walk and share it with you all.

God, I feel incredibly upbeat tonight!

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