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Yesterday afternoon I took the "Lemon Grove Loop" again, in the Maino open space area. The hike takes me a little over an hour, is really just about perfect. There is some climbing but it isn't as steep as Islay Hill, it goes through different types of areas, including what I think are called "copses", meadows, even little creeks (dry this time of year). And of course, the view of Madonna Mountain most of the time. Although it was late in the day I managed to work up a sweat, giving me a sense that I had done something. At the same time, it was not too strenuous, didn't cause me to focus entirely on each step, on getting through it.

I did not start well. I have not been out there as much as in the past, so my energy level and my muscles were not in tune, and at first it was hard. Near the beginning my right foot slid over onto its ankle and I had to limp for a little way. Soon after that I dropped my water bottle into a ravine below, an area where I could have gotten it but it would have been quite a strain for me. I figured, let someone more ambitious get it, and I figured, the hike isn't that long, nor that hard, I can get by without water.

I got into the rhythm of it after that, though. There were many bicyclists on the trail, both directions. The path is so narrow at times that to step off it means going downhill in a worrisome way (for me), so I at first resented having to step off to let the cyclists by. They were all friendly, though, and I shared, obviously, the pleasure of the trail with them.

A while back, I calculated that several hundred, maybe a few thousand, persons use these trails around the city every day. It seems like a lot. Yet each time I am on one I feel like it is my special privilege, a treat not given to everyone. And that is true, of course. Even a few thousand is a small part of the total population of the city and of the number of visitors to the city each day.

Thus my own private trails, secret passages, rich with sound and smell and sights, and I love them all. Whether or not my knees hold out I am renewed from within, corny though that sounds.

I went hiking yesterday in part because I need the exercise, but more to use up, dissipate, restless nervous energy. The little issues I deal with each day, both at work and in my various volunteer efforts at my computer, accumulate at times. I needed to work through it this way. It helped, it really did.

and yet last night in bed my rest was nothing but tossing and turning, visions in my head, pictures from everything I was thinking about during the day and evening. I simply could not get comfortable and into a sound solid sleep. It's true that this is typical for me, yet I have gone several weeks now without having this sort of non-rest. I don't know what brought it on.


Judith Lautner
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January 2012


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