18 June 2012

stranger danger

Over there, beyond the mountains, it is reliably sunny this time of year. Gloriously, reliably sunny. 

Every time I go over the mountains, I expect my allergies to go away, because after all, it is just this area where the pollen/pollution/everything gets trapped over us by the mountains that is the problem, right? RIGHT? 

Every time I go over the mountains, I am disappointed, because I am just as allergic to the dry side of the mountains (over there) as I am to the wet side of the mountains (over here). I suppose I should expect this, given that there are literally waves of yellow pollen blowing around over there in June.

Pollen or no, there is glorious, reliable sunshine over there, and I was stuck inside at a conference. 


 This morning, I listened to speeches by two of my favorite lawyers in this state, and then meandered around Beautiful City Beyond [the Mountains] finding reasons not to start out on a hike.

There was coffee, drunk while perusing the hiking guide. 

There was lunch, eaten in the sunshine. 

There was wandering to find snacks for hiking, which turned into fighting for a parking spot downtown and then waiting for the bubble tea I decided I must have. (This particular bubble tea is really only available in Gone West and Beautiful City Beyond [The Mountains]. What was I to do but wait for the bubbles to be cooked?)

I almost canceled the hiking because, well, I'm afraid of hiking alone, as we all know. I didn't really hike until I moved to State of Happiness, except on vacations in Colorado and such, and when I moved to this state, I started hiking, but only recently have I ventured out alone. Occasionally. In non-secluded places.

I had mentioned the hiking to T., though, and she made me go hiking. Insofar as someone can make you go hiking from across the country. It's called accountability. You (I) feel reeeeally stupid when you (I) say you (I) are (am) going on a hike and then bail because you (I) are (am) fluttering helplessly about a city looking for snacks.

The hike that I picked was 4.7 miles long, just outside Beautiful City Beyond [The Mountains]. It was perfect. There were just many enough people on the trail that if I were attacked by a cougar or a rattlesnake, someone would come upon my mauled and/or convulsing body within a reasonable time span. There were just few enough people on the trail that I was alone for the entire trip.

I wore cotton.

The trail ran up one side of a creek and down the other, mostly through that scrubby mix of underbrush and Douglas Fir that marks the east side of the Cascades. The air smelled good. It was all so pretty, and the air was so warm, and it felt so good to be moving, and I was so proud to be out on my own. I got some good thinking and journaling done.

There is something about a dusty trail through mountains that reminds me of Rwanda. It reminds me of all the long walks through the mountains to visit people who had received goats through our goat project, or evening walks along the peninsula, or Sunday afternoon walks with S. 

To make sense of the following story, you need to know that, in Kinyarwanda, a white person is a muzungu (mzungu in Swahili). More than one white people are abazungu (wazungu in Swahili). 

S. and I were walking through the hills behind her house one afternoon when a little girl, probably three years old, came barreling down the trail at us, calling "Abazuuuungu!" in the most delighted voice, as if we were an exciting gift that the universe had delivered to her door.

And then she just didn't stop. She ran full tilt directly into me. 

Which was fine, because she was only three, and I caught her and swung her around and set her down again, but it was hilarious. I kept thinking she would stop, but then she just didn't. She ran directly into the arms of a stranger.  On purpose. Apparently stranger-danger had not hit Rwanda, c. 2003.

Kids make me laugh.

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