Kat Powers

Sometimes you just need to read the signs around you

Slow down

I fully admit to being tightly wound.

I’m really trying to learn how to chill out. And while I’d like to say I’ve come back to hiking to chill out in the woods, that would totally be a lie.

My hikes are super-planned, with enough snack food to get trapped for six hours in bad weather, back up cell phone batteries and dry socks. I get up at 5 a.m. so I can be at the gates of a park at sunrise. I bring an extra bag with me to pick up trash on the route. I leave a message as to where I am, including directions of the route I’m taking — despite my hikes usually being in sight of downtown Boston.

This past weekend I was going to charge to the end of a bog walk and then the six miles around the bog in question. I went past the signs that say enter at your own risk, and then found myself in the middle of a rotted boardwalk that was covered in ice where it wasn’t just swollen and under water.

As gorgeous as it was, plowing ahead would have been stupid — you don’t know where the weak spot is in an ice-covered bog where you can sink through.  I’ve lost count at the number of times  in life I’ve seen the evidence but plowed ahead because that’s what I was expected to do — into a bad marriage, into a bad job, into a bad deal.

Hopefully it’s not too late to learn how to slow down when there’s trouble ahead, and even reverse course. Full speed ahead into the ice is not the best course.