There is a series of hiking trails near my house and this past summer I have taken to hiking them on almost a daily basis. The trails are known locally as the Cascades. I have come to know the trails like the back of my hand. The terrain is a woody, hilly terrain crisscrossed with a number of small streams and dells. I mix and match the trails to come up with routes that take about an hour and a half door to door of walking at a crisp pace.
I love making these daily hikes. It gives me a chance to clear my head or give thought to any problem or business situation I may be working on. It lets me work up a good sweat without being overly exhausting. Since I've started with the near-daily treks I've dropped about 10-15 pounds and feel great.
Even the rains of Tropical Storm Irene didn't keep me from hiking. On that Sunday when the storm was passing through the area I made my regular hike. My wife thought I was crazy but I was curious to see the woods during the storm. The rain wasn't that bad and the wind was manageable but the feeling of being out in nature in those conditions was very exhilarating.
This past week we had some very bad rains. The rainfall was actually worse than that of Irene. I knew that when I started my daily walk but the fact really hit home when I saw a footbridge that was near the start of the hike had been washed out. I knew the trails would be wet and slick and in my mind I planned a route that would have me going uphill in a rocky path where I could step from rock to rock with a return path that was at a higher elevation for the most part but that would have one small stretch that would be a steep downhill on a narrow muddy path that was sure to be slick.
As I was nearing that stretch of path my mind wandered. I started thinking about the Boston Red Sox and how their starting rotation had started to implode. My judgement was particularly harsh on John Lackey who had come to the Red Sox as a high-priced free agent. I was wondering if there was another equally bad contract out there that the Red Sox could swap with similar to the Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva trade. When I couldn't come up with a potential trading partner in my mind I started thinking very harsh thoughts about John Lackey. I know that Lackey's mind was elsewhere this season with his wife battling cancer. "Why don't the Red Sox just donate the amount owed to Lackey to the Jimmy Fund and call it a day," I thought. It was unfair that an organization who was so giving to cancer research would be burdened by a pitcher with a box of rocks for a brain no matter what personal issues he was facing. It was unfair, it was...
That's when I slipped.
The path was slick as I knew it would be but I was too busy thinking nasty thoughts about John Lackey to notice. My feet came out from under me. Only my quickly and instinctively reaching out with my right hand to grasp some thorny brush and bramble kept me from having a really bad, messy fall. I could have ended up truly hurt and all covered in mud. Instead I just had some small cuts and thorns stuck in my right hand.
I had to laugh.
When I started my hike that day I knew exactly where the path would be worst. I knew it would be wet, muddy and slippery. But I was too busy thinking bad thoughts about John Lackey to notice. In my mind it was a sort of instant karma.
I hope I've learned my lesson. I will not let John Lackey get to me.