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Yesterday morning (Sunday) we went on another hike in the canyon we’ve been soledad 2exploring for a few weeks now. We’ve had to slowly build up our mileage–which was still only 1.8 miles–and push ourselves a little farther up and little farther in each time we’ve gone because, of course, I can’t just push myself. I did feel a pang of jealousy when I saw a woman obviously decades older than me moving at a faster pace and climbing higher than me (there are some exceptionally sturdy older people around here) but that passed quickly. I like that I have pace myself because that means we can spend months more exploring the canyon. And besides, at least I’m outside doing something with my body. Any small bit is better than no bit at all.

I had to pause a few times because the trail we took was much steeper this time around–just a straight up and up and up without any flat sections. But stopping was great because then I could look behind me and see the view down into the valley–the city, the green patches of the orchards and the university’s football field, the pale gash of the interstate heading west. Then I turned around to keep climbing and saw this:soledad

The older I get and the more hours of my life I spend with computers and the Internet, the more I become convinced that we humans need wild spaces, or at the very least, spaces not full of human-built things. We need to feel small and we need to see what else is trying to live on the planet with us and we need to look at things that aren’t screens. I grew up in a town of 28,00 and now live in a town of 100,000 (almost too big for me–almost nothing to people who live in cities of millions). The town I grew up is in a very rural part of a very agricultural state, and now I live in a state that is full of protected land and national monuments and state parks and all sorts of spaces with minimal human impact. So I’m not much of a city person at all–too much traffic and concrete and too many people bother me. I don’t usually like to use quotes in my writing, but I like the following from John Muir:  “Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” I’m not much of a fan of spending a week in the woods (I can’t imagine anything worse for fibromyalgia than camping for a week), but I’ll do a short climb to sort out my spirit. I know I’ll sound a little extreme here, but I think we miss some part of our humanity if we don’t inhabit wild or wild-ish spaces every now and then. Our little canyon is wild-ish–there are are homes a little more than a mile from where I took the above pictures–but how wild can you get with fibromyalgia?

It was a bit cold–54 degrees–with clouds moving quickly across the sun, making it sunny, then cloudy, then sunny again, and there was a brisk wind at my back as we climbed and in my face as we descended, but with a fleece vest and gloves and a headband over my ears I kept warm enough. And today I have aches in my shins, but I feel like my legs are getting stronger and my mind feels calmer, so it all evens out.