Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Get Outside, Rain or Shine

A couple weeks ago I started my fall courses at Seattle University’s School of Theology & Ministry. Back together after a months-long break, classmates can be heard asking one another, “What did you do this summer?”

For many of us, the answer includes activities like family picnics, hiking, swimming, outdoor festivals or concerts, and generally lots of time soaking up sun and fresh air.

The highlight of my summer was a four-day backpacking trip in the Glacier Peak Wilderness—we walked to Spider Meadow, up and over Spider Gap, down to Lyman Lakes, up and down over Cloudy, Suiattle, and Buck Creek Passes, and finally down the Buck Creek valley to the old mining town of Trinity.

You can tell from the photos that we enjoyed AMAZING weather during this trip—all sun and stunning views and not a drop of the wet stuff. In weather like that, one could hardly imagine spending time indoors.

Fast forward to the October—the beginning of the school year and the start of the rainy season in the Pacific Northwest. Not only is the weather unsettled and the sky dominated by clouds but the sun rises much later and sets much earlier, leaving little light outside standard workday hours.

Lakes no longer invite swimmers to refresh themselves in their clear waters; the mountains are hidden behind a veil of mist, warning potential hikers to think twice about venturing onto the trails.

During these rainy months I am torn between gearing up and continuing to spend time outside or taking the path of least resistance…straight to my couch.

Yesterday I suited up in raingear, packed my school books in plastic bags, and headed to class on my bike. Once I was soaked to the bone, I made peace with the weather—the rain and I were able to coexist rather nicely on the 35-minute ride.

And although it would be hard for me to speak about the rainy bike ride with the same affection I had for the sunny backpacking trip, in both circumstances I was able to connect with the natural world. That connection is my motivation to get outside, rain or shine.

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