posted by Melissa
After a yummy dinner with good friends, we set off for an urban hike. The sun had just set, so there was still enough light in the sky to make out the silhouette of mountains. Yet it was dark enough to take in the city lights and do that cool thing where you let your eyes blur and everything looks sparkly and you feel like it must be Christmas.
The weather this morning in Seattle could be December weather. My heat kicked on at around 11am.
Urban hiking is great. I get my heart pumping, I get to see some plant life by going to one of Seattle's many parks. And just when I thought I was safe, I got see some wildlife too. We were headed home after our climb and descent of the Volunteer Park water tower. As we were walking down a lovely little street in our neighborhood, chatting about what house Jamie had just put a painting bid on, my friend says calmly,
"What?" I replied, thinking I must have misheard her.
"Oh, there's just a raccoon right there." and she pointed to our left.
I looked over, apparently hoping it would be far away, because I did not see anything but a house and some nice landscaping. Then I drew my sight in closer and there it was. Huge and looking right at us, only maybe 3 feet away. I screamed. Of course.
Everyone else stops to look as I made my way quickly across the street, jaywalking and not caring. Sooo not Seattle. Crosswalks, people. Seattlites love them some crosswalks, and that flashing white guy that signals when it is the only acceptable time to cross. Even if it is raining and there are no cars in sight.
"Watch out. That's the mama." the homeowner hollered over to us.
At which point, everyone else crossed to meet me on the other side. We all moved along on our merry way.
Is nature trying to tell me something? Are animals out to get me for real? Or am I paranoid? I have decided it is best to take some time to work through my fears. I am going to sit down and just imagine the worst case scenario. If a bear, or I guess a mountain goat, attacks me, I will know the safety tips and rules and handle it as best I can. But if it gets out of hand, and it is going to kill me, I am going to be OK with that. Just really work at letting that be OK. I mean, if it happens, it is just what is going to happen. I feel I have to accept that to be able to do this hike.
And if I do get killed by an animal, Amy and I have already decided that it will make one hell of a blog post. I told Amy, she may even have ended up on Oprah if she was still around. By the way, where are people going to strive to make it from now on? Who is the heir to the Oprah throne?
Back to hiking: What is wrong with me? Does everyone go through this when about to go on a backpacking trip? Is it normal to work through a scenario of being killed by a bear, gored by a goat? Am I being too dramatic? Possibly pragmatic?
Whatever. As I discovered with the posting of the poetry recitation, I am who I am. And, I also learned in psychology class that people's personalities aren't going to change much throughout their adulthood. Although, on this one, the fear of being in the woods...I'd like to prove that theory wrong.
Here's to all the backpackers out there, you brave people. I salute you.