“End Cruelty to Hikers.” That’s the name of a new protest movement I’m starting and, even if you aren’t one yourself, I hope you’ll join to put us poor dumb beasts out of our misery.
I’m talking about weather that in the early morning has been in the 40s plus dank, windy and cloudy instead of the “warm face, warm hands, warm feet” we expected at this time of the year. The few hardy souls who have turned out have faced walks that — to adapt Hobbes — are “nasty, brutish and long.”
At a time when we should be walking with a lightness in our step and a song of spring in our hearts, what comes to mind instead is “Hiker, It’s Cold Outside.” It’s unusual and cruel so there must be something the courts can do to right it.
It’s true the mornings are light, unlike winter. Even so the other day I heard an owl hooting mournfully in the dripping trees proving that Keats was right after all: “The owl for all his feathers was a-cold.”
There is an element of masochism in it, I have to concede. Nothing compels us to get up at first light and get out on the trail, but if we burrow back under the bedclothes, we always regret missing that heady feeling of looking over the bowl of empty mountains on our doorstep and letting the vastness fill our minds.
So, if you want to join one more cause, please murmur a chant to the weather gods:
“What do we want? No gloom in June.”
Reg Green’s website is nicholasgreen.org.