Excerpts from Step Nine: Dampened Spirits

Keeping It Dry

Rain offers a gradation of experiences for a walker, a continuum of wetness, from intermittent drizzle to torrential downpour. For every level of wetness, there is suitable (but seldom perfect) attire, from a rain jacket worn with or without a hood to rain pants worn over shorts or long johns.

For me, rainy day happiness depends on following three principles: first, every morning, everything I carry goes into plastic bags before it goes into my pack; second, my handy pack cover goes on my pack as soon as I feel the first rain drop—and sometimes sooner; and, third, I remind myself as I slog along that the hills and dales would not be dressed in the velvety green I love without the moisture that is falling on me.

Journal: I’ve Had It
I’m struggling to put a lid on my whining. But I have a bad case of the “grumpies.” My side hurts, and I’m tired and dragging. About a mile back, I was gazing at the downs-foot village of Fulking, instead of observing the ground beneath my feet, where I might have noticed that some adorable Rover had fouled the footpath. His mistake is now embedded in the tread of my right boot. Cow patties and sheep pellets may be unpleasant, but dog-do can undo one’s day. And now, standing in the field we’re about to cross is a hairy beast the size of a pick-up truck, with horns and a brass ring in his nose, looking mighty concerned about his turf. Mike is dressed in a red windbreaker. I start to grumble about things getting worse.



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