I recently had an essay, “Getting Back to the Garden,” published in The Sacred Table. Separately, through the healthy food and hunger-relief project I oversee for JCC Association, JCC Grows, we’re partnering with the USDA’s People’s Garden initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move effort to helps kids be healthier and more fit!
Last week my family and I hiked Grand Canyon. The view and the colors were beyond extraordinary. They don’t call it one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world for nothing! And of course it was more and more incredible as we descended from 8,000 feet down into the Canyon, surrounded by 17 million year old rock formations. We’ve done a lot of hiking over the years, particularly in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, but I found this hike to be particularly challenging. From the expressions on the faces of the people we passed on our way down, I know I wasn’t alone. (Of course it may have had something to do with the fact that it’s been a few years since my last major hike and I have no regular exercise routine—btw, kudos to all those who do!) To instill fear in our hearts, there was a sign that read: Hiking down is optional. Hiking up is mandatory. The film 127 Hours came to mind as we continued to keep ourselves hydrated.
It was great to know that I had the stamina. More than once I’ve asked my doctor why it is that I can hike mountains, but I find New York subway steps exhausting. (Ladies, if you’re a subway-riding New Yorker like me, you know what I’m talkin’ about.) My doctor says she gets that question a lot from her female patients. Her answer is because it uses different muscles. I definitely employed some of those same muscles on the stairs-like climb back up Grand Canyon. Oh, and did I mention that the temperature was close to 100º? (As you hike down, it gets hotter – adds to the bragging rights.) Needless to say, we were ecstatic when we successfully made it to the top. Back in New York, I now feel empowered as I make my way up from the subway platform, quietly grinning to myself and thinking, hey, I just climbed Grand Canyon. Of course I still find the subway steps exhausting!