Saturday, December 12, 2015

Near Nature, Near Perfect: One

I work a lot of evenings and weekends, but my workplace culture doesn't have well-integrated practices around flex time. I don't believe in taking a rigid view on hours worked per week, and as an exempt, salaried employee I can't. I do believe in setting boundaries and practicing self-care. In that spirit, after working Sunday, I blocked Thursday afternoon off on my calendar.

One of the things that drew me to Spokane was it's motto: "Near Nature, Near Perfect." Indeed, it's near nature in ways that I only dreamed of in Chicago. However, it's December. It's very gray here. The sun sets before 4:00 pm. It's been raining on and off for days. Spokane has been feeling less perfect and farther from nature than it did back in sunny September. It seemed like the time was right to get outside.

After lunch on Thursday I drove thirty minutes to Liberty Lake, put my rain jacket on, stuck a few granola bars in my pocket, and set out, sure the rain would stop and naively hopeful that the sun might make an appearance. An hour and a half later, I'd made it to the waterfall...

...but it was still sprinkling and the daylight was receding quickly. Instead of completing the eight-mile loop I'd planned I made a responsible, safe and very difficult choice to turn around. I'll be back soon.

Lessons learned: winter hikes are an absolute must. I need to invest in some gear, starting with a head lamp and a better rain coat. Weekday afternoons are a perfect time to get out of the office, and everyone should do it.