Hiking is part of my identity. It is how I exercise, explore the world, and see God. For the last six months of 2021, I was struggling with not being able to breathe when I hiked or climbed. Even though my hiking was limited, I pressed forward. More and more doctors and and more and more tests told me what was “not” wrong and yet the symptoms never went away. Abnormally high heart rate upon exercise led to tests which led to “your heart is like someone 20 years younger”. The pulmonary tests looked for silicone from a ruptured breast implant and scarring from smoking, but everything said “your lungs are better than 100% for someone your age”.
Yet the symptoms persist. Hiking became an exercise in reading and anticipating the Fitbit results of my racing heart rate. It was accelerating into Peak at 140 beats per minute or more. I was in the zone of fat burn and cardio 120 minutes per day. AHA recommendation is 150 minutes of cardio per week! Knowing my heart and lungs are healthy and nothing can be done to cure this helps me not to freak out. My days of long hikes of 6 or more miles at altitude 10,000 feet are over. My trips and small hikes taken the fall of 2021 in Yellowstone NP, Steamboat Springs and Granbury, CO, Yosemite, and Pacific Coast Trail in California seemed uninteresting to share.
I have grieved not hiking. I quit writing. I can still walk and observe and maybe share insights in a different way. Walking in Dinosaur State Park in Texas this week perked my interest to share with my readers. Even if it is not a massively difficult hike or long, I can still enjoy, commune with God and get exercise.
“I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there. I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it.
Don’t be afraid of a soul. I’ll be right there, looking after you.” God’s Decree.
God reached out, touched my mouth, and said, “Look! I’ve just put my words in your mouth—hand-delivered! See what I’ve done? I’ve given you a job to do among nations and governments—a red-letter day! Your job is to pull up and tear down, take apart and demolish,
And then start over, building and planting.” Jeremiah 1:7-10 The Message
Silence. Nothing. No sounds. A bird calls and a scurrying little animal sets off a dog chase. The armadillo burrows into the leaves to escape the fearful barking dog. Why did God make armadillos so funny looking? Did you know they had whiskers? Long ones we noticed in telephoto pictures!
When the danger had passed, out comes the snout followed by that tiny (it must be a young one)armored body covered with grey-brown scales.
Moments of Silence. No sound. No birds. No river flowing. No wind. Breathe and suspend time on a trail of solitude. Awakening my hiking again. Maybe I will show and tell the walking stories.