Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why do we hike?

Ashby's had a tough week at school. For most of the week, she's gotten up at 6am to go to school where she's forced to do things like learn and socialize.  She's also had her first week of Track conditioning -- a sport she has chosen on her own accord.  She worked out three times this week, done math homework almost every evening, and skimped on her chores at home.  We understand.  We know what "tired" is.  It only gets worse with age.

Upon arriving home from school Friday, she promptly did her homework like a good "little" girl, and then spent some time bonding with the television and the couch.  I think more bonding happened with the couch, as Tim had to peel her off of it near bedtime.  She'd fell asleep during some Batman movie she's seen a hundred times after we'd spoiled her on pizza - bought pre-made - already cooked! (woo-hoo!)

Beforehand though, she'd whiningly posed the question to Tim, "Why do ya'll have to hike every weekend?!"  Apparently, she's not looking forward to Saturday's gorgeous sunny skies and 55 degree temps like we are. It's also funny how she just so happened to have a sore throat minutes after posing this question, and then the following, "What happens if I'm sick tomorrow?"  It's also funny how she asked Daddy and not me - I don't fall for such behavior. Daddies fold every time a pouting lip comes their way.

So, in response (and for your reading pleasure - or maybe because you'll have to answer these questions one day - or maybe because you already have and you'll find humor in our situation):

To our dearest teenage daughter:

First - we don't hike every weekend. You are being highly exaggerative and unfair. Out of the nearly 80 miles we hiked in 2010, you accompanied us for 30. My dear, most of our hiking last year was decided upon last minute after you had chose to stay at a friend's house. I, however, remember a little girl who (not long ago) wouldn't have dreamed of being left behind.

But a serious inquiry deserves a serious response... so this - darling - is why we hike:

  • Because we are slaves to the system.  In order to give you things like electricity, heat, cellphone, unlimited taxi service, TV, clean clothes, and food at least three times daily --- we have to work.  Daddy works 40 hours a week.  Momma's work is exponential.
  • Because we sit on our rears for most of the week.  It's very difficult to debug software or "Photoshop" pictures while standing, running in place, or balancing in tree pose. It is, however, mind-blowingly exhaustive.  So, walking, prancing, dancing, even waltzing up a trail is refreshing.
  • Because daddy works away from home. In a cube. That is dark.  And because Momma works from the home, and sometimes (like a friend said today) feels like she's under house arrest.
  • Because there are no telephones in the woods. No cat puke to clean up. No laundry to fold. No customer support. No bills in the mail. No grocery shopping, no pet grooming, no checkbook balancing, no Farmville requests. None of the things that drive us crazy. Albeit, it's all still here when we come home. At least, when we're out there, we can pretend it doesn't exist.
  • Because we like to be together (including with you). We like to be out there doing something fun, not tasked in different rooms or swallowed whole by the routine of the daily grind.
  • Because neither of us were born with a silver spoon shoved up our... noses.  Hiking is cheap. It costs gas, sometimes food, the occasional park entry fee or equipment upgrade. That's it. We could literally hike (within a 50 mile radius of our home) six times for the amount it would cost us to take you out to eat once.
  • Because we have a border collie. And, last I checked, no sheep.  Clover wants - needs - must have exercise, and lots of it.  We cater to that.  We chose her, she chose us. She even chose you.
  • Because it's good to feel like a kid again.  All the responsibilities of growing up ---- yeah, one day you'll understand.
  • Because it feels great to accomplish something using our feet for what God intended them to be used for.  That'd be walking, by the way, not holding down the coffee table.
  • And on the topic of God: Because we have the opportunity to relish in the glory of His creation - the grass, the fields, the trees, the flora, the fauna, the majesty of His Greatness.
  • And last, because we like to.  It is enjoyable to us. Because out there, in the wild, we are free.
Love you always -- even during this short time in your life when the aliens have stolen your brain,

Momma & Daddy