I mentioned yesterday that I want to incorporate running as much as possible back into my life, partly as a stress-reliever (few other activities relax me nearly as well and as completely as running does, and it adds so much more energy to my day to boot!), and partly as a health and fitness activity I actually enjoy and need more of as I get older and my body needs more movement than it used to just to function properly.
Well, today, I took the opposite direction and went hiking instead, and it absolutely counts! Living out here in the high desert region of the American West, I literally am less than a 10-mile drive from thousands of acres of fantastic hiking and cycling trails. This morning we took our senior pup, D-Dog, to a one-mile loop in a park that’s renowned for its preserved fossils and breathtaking rock formations. We weren’t sure he was going to be able to handle the sometimes-rocky terrain, but he was a trouper and enjoyed himself immensely. The topography is only slightly undulating, with a mostly level dirt trail that sometimes crossed ancient riverbeds, but it was a decent effort for all of us under a dazzling blue sky and lots and lots of sunshine.
Afterwards we stopped at our favorite coffee shop and picked up some fresh-baked scones and coffees. (Café au lait with whole milk for me, café au lait with oat milk for P.) Their scones are so popular that they usually sell out by 9am, but having learned my lesson too many times, I’ve taken to calling first thing in the morning and asking them to reserve a couple for us. This morning they had lavender scones, something called “blue basil” which I think is blueberry + basil, and a vegan lemon rosemary scone. We picked up 2 of the lavender and one each of the blue basil and vegan scone. And then we couldn’t resist adding a pumpkin muffin because the barista said it was literally fresh out of the oven, and I would have been mad to pass that up.
We came home, dropped off D-Dog, and then almost immediately turned around and headed to town to attend a new dog training class for our big dog, M. It’s the first session, and the trainer said it’s an orientation for the pet parents only, so this time M. stayed home, but will be attending all future sessions.
Although we’d worked with this trainer for almost a year now, all of her sessions to date had been at our home, but this time M. had “graduated” to an in-class session. We hadn’t ever been to the training facility, so when we pulled into the parking lot of their building, we were distracted and in awe of the location: right next to a nondescript government building housing an outpost of the US Department of Energy. It turns out to have been the site of a uranium mining and processing facility that was built to support the Manhattan Project. There are signs along the river behind the building telling visitors not to swim in the water nor consume any fish caught in it. Wow.
As it’s a Sunday, there was no one around the property other than the trainer, so the quiet and somewhat remote location lent an almost otherworldly atmosphere to the desert surrounding the buildings. We left there a little over an hour later vowing to return once Covid had opened up the facility to public visitors.
I just finished writing 761 words in my novel, so now I’m going to spend the rest of the day reading a new mystery novel I picked up at the library and basically just relaxing. The part of me that is obsessed with productivity and ambition wants to get up and start preparing for work tomorrow, but I have to remind myself that, no matter what stories I tell myself, burnout is real, and if I’m not careful, I’ll end up as frazzled and depleted as I found myself last week. It’s interesting that I have to will myself to relax, but I guess that’s the “-aholic” part of “workaholic”. And why I titled this blog My Inner French Girl: she’s a constant reminder to myself to enjoy life and indulge in all its pleasures. Including the pleasure of doing nothing.