I decided to go out for a walk. Ended up going hiking in the French Alps. I’m not a great walker…not bad…but certainly not the part goat I feared I needed to be to survive this. But the 2 days of hiking was part and parcel of the Paris trip I glommed onto in a fit of emotional Feng shui so there I was. I set the bar low. As long as the St. Bernards didn’t need to be sent for me I would consider it a victory.

I started off rocky… 5 minutes into it my sister was asking if needed to turn back. She was looking forward to a 4-6 hour hike and my first 5 minutes were not encouraging with my ragged breathing, heaving shoulders and general speechlessness brought on by a severe lack of oxygen. I don’t know if you’re up-to-date on the Alps, but they’re kind of steep. And on that day, also raining and mud-slicked. Perfect conditions for conditioning.

She asked again 10 and then 20 minutes later. The cut off was 30 minutes. At that point I had to commit to not having a heart attack or I had to head back. Apparently my non-walking status was legend as my 90 year-old father had called her and made her promise not to accidentally kill me on the mountain. And a promise is a promise. So there we were pinky swearing to my not dying on that particular day on that particular mountain.

Obviously given the past tense of this post, the suspense is over and you know I didn’t die. I’d love to say that it was all abut finding myself, my inner strength and grit and all that good stuff. But no, I owe it all to a literal stick in the mud. In an attempt to facilitate my survival, one of our party found me a stick in the mud to use as a walking stick. For the next 2 days I was inseparable from that stick. It was the longest and most satisfying relationship I’ve had in awhile. Steady, dependable, helpful…and just the right size. After surviving the first day, I didn’t want to take a chance that I would find another stick that was so perfect…so I promiscuously took him back to the room with me to make sure he would be there tomorrow. And he was.