Checking In – Felling Trees

Last week, my neighbor came by to help us out. A couple trees had fallen near the edge of our property. They were not the problem, they were down. There was a third tree which had cracked and fallen – into another huge tree. And they were both leaning in the direction of our house. Our neighbor has been cutting trees his whole life; he came to take care of it for us. First, he cleared the down trees. Then he spent a LOT of time looking at the hung-up tree from every angle, make a plan (and back-up plans) before he touched it. I watched nervously from the kitchen. As he thought it would, the tree hung up when he cut it. So he stopped, re-examined the problem from all angles, made a new plan. He got part of it, but it would not release from the other tree. Next day, he came back. Cut the support tree. It got hung up – it’s a mature forrest, there are a lot of trees to snag. Slowly, methodically worked the tree into a better position. Small cut. Work it over. Small cut. Work it. And then it was down.

It was a marvel watching him work (a little nerve-wracking, too). The mess of trees was really daunting, difficult to see a path forward to clear it. But at each step, he would stop, consider the situation, figure all the options, and make a plan. Slow. Methodical. Re-evaluating at each step. Slow. Methodical. A marvel!

Why am I telling you this? It seemed a pretty apt metaphor for what I’m doing, or for anyone trying to get in better shape or reach some goal. It’s not going to happen all at once. It’s not going to happen without a solid plan. But with small, steady steps, it can happen.

That’s what I’ve been trying to do. Small, steady steps. And it’s working.

I’m beginning to get back to the habit of exercise. It’s becoming normal, less of a struggle, to get outside, even if only for a short walk. Even on my rest days – like after 3 days of skiing (it snowed!!) – it feels normal to still do something. Rest doesn’t mean be a lump on the couch!

I’m still not pushing to do a lot of miles. I’m more concerned with regularity. So, I’m running or walking only a couple miles most days, but I am running or walking most days. And I’m skiing whenever I can. Plus, I’m doing a little yoga and some core and shoulder work every day. Again, not a lot, but throwing it in my day most days.

This weekend, I spent upstate with friends on a writing weekend. I spent a tremendous amount of time in front of my computer or a notebook. But I also used my writing breaks to get outside. I ran, I hiked, I hiked again. And tomorrow I ski.

A couple months ago, my body felt like a big mess. I wanted something to change. I made an honest assessment (so humbling!), made a plan, and have been chipping away – slow, methodical, steady. And it’s working. My body is beginning to feel familiar to me again. Like I could be an athlete again.


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