Saturday, November 9, 2013


That day I had finished up a hike down here at Indiana's "Little Smokies"' officially known as Brown County State Park.
This was the first year I purchased a season pass and I am sure as hell getting my money's worth.
I usually hike trail 10 a rugged 2.2 mile trail that gives me a great workout and there is a fire tower at the end of the trail that is a nice payoff for the view it affords and a cool breeze.
Instead of the usual familiar trail 10 that day, I decided to hike Trail 7 which goes around Ogle Lake.
It's only 1.5 moderate miles but it was an enjoyable walk with a beautiful view.
I already did my 5 mile hike this morning so this was just a bonus.
Afterward I decided to check out Hesitation Point Trail, a hiking/mountain biking trail that starts at Hesitation Point.
I just wanted to walk it for a half mile or so, just to get an idea of what an advance mountain bike trail was like.
At the time I had been toying with the notion of getting a used mountain bike and I wanted to see what would be in store for me on the biking trails. I have since bought one from my nephew and have been enjoying mountain biking a great deal.
I walked it for only a half mile or so, very beautiful walk with a bonus of getting video of a couple of deer walking the trail with me.
When I got back to the trail head I turned on some Stevie Ray Vaughn and sat on a picnic table at Hesitation Point, gazed at the beautiful vista and let my mind do a little hiking.

Hesitation Point, I like that name, It conjures up a vision of standing on a sheer cliff where the decision between life and death is only one small step.
Makes me think of some tormented soul standing there on the precipice, feet edging closer and closer, looking over the edge and hesitating for a few seconds, minutes or hours deciding their own fate.
Some choose to take that next step end leave this plane of existence forever, some step back and face their demons head on, but I think they all hesitate, be it a few seconds or a few hours.
This Hesitation Point is not quite that dramatic, if you took a step forward here you would just be one step closer to the North gate of the park, plus about 10 miles of rugged hiking trails. But it is a great view and a nice place to ponder.

I had my very own personal "Hesitation Point" just one road south of here the week before, I had been at the lake a few days and had hiked south from Hesitation Point on Schooner Trace Trail a double diamond expert mountain biking/hiking trail. After about a mile and a quarter you cross a road before you hit the difficult section of the trail that runs about 3 and a half miles through some dense and secluded forest before it meets up with Walnut trail.
Along the road there is a picnic table, I took off my backpack and sat on the table to ponder my fate.
I really wanted to go on and finish this challenging trail, the only problem, I had left my meds at home. I had already been three days without them, I can go without the fish oil, coloseteral, acid reflux, even my blood pressure meds for that long, but the Flecenide?... that's another story.

I have a love/hate relationship with Flecenide, it's a non coated pill that tastes like shit.
You cannot swallow it fast enough to not taste it even when you take it with 4 or 5 other pills. It throttles my heart rate down and limits me in some ways, it also keeps me on this plane of existence by keeping the ol ticker ticking in the right direction .
Before I started taking Flecenide a few years ago, I was hospitalized twice to get cardioverted to get me out of Afib.
I have lost a lot of weight and got myself in pretty decent working order, but I still have issues, the heart being a bit of an important issue.
As I dug out a granola bar and an apple out of my backpack I could feel just a bit of a misfire in the heart, it wasn't full blown Afib, just a bit of a stagger. It had been doing this the last 24 hours due to not taking the Flecenide twice a day. I felt fine and told myself even though I would be quite alone on the trail and it was a long stretch deep in the secluded forest that would be somewhat challenging, I was sure there would be no problem making the rest of the hike, or at least reasonably certain. Well pretty sure anyway.

I have hiked that trail a few times since, but that day I had no idea what that trail would be like? I really wanted to challenge myself and push on. So I hesitated and sat down and did a bit of pondering.
Back behind me was my starting point, Hesitation Point. Before I could begin the internal debate to advance or retreat I started thinking about all the other Hesitation Points in my life.
There were a lot of them, times where just one little step forward or back made exponential changes in my life.
Times where I looked back later on and thanked God I made the right decision and shuddered at the thought of what would have happened had I stepped forward at Hesitation Point.
On the flip side more often then not I have taken that misguided step forward and paid dearly for my foolishness.
Wish I could say I have batted 500 on making the best decisions, not even close. My past is littered with little ugly memories of "wish I hada and wish I hadn't. 
Even so, one horrible misstep at a Hesitation Point many years ago resulted in my two great kids and my wonderful grandson. So there's that.

The feeling that I needed to decide what I'm going to do and get moving was quickly replaced by the realization that I am no longer on anybody's damn time clock and I can sit here as long as I damned well please, so I lingered there and I continued to ponder.
As I pulled my Cracker Barrel cheese sandwich out of my backpack I thought it a profound thing that these little junctions and crossroads of our lives usually seem so insignificant at the time, but some of those moments lead to life altering events and forever change the course of your personnel history. 

You gotta love a speech maker who regurgitates the old "if I had it all to do over again I wouldn't change a thing". Bullshit! That is complete and utter bullshit. 
I could write volumes on corrections and life edits I could make in my History book.
But of course that is not possible so you make the best out of what is left and you try to mitigate the damage and you try to learn from the past, but I'm not going to even attempt to forward the idea here that I have done either on a regular basis.

But I'm learning. That day, I stood up, look at the trailhead of Schooner Trace trail, thought about what would happen if I was miles deep in the forest, alone and my heart went berserk. I feel for my pulse, shake my head, turn around and hike back to my car.

Learn to live to fight another day.
Maybe I'm learning, just maybe.

"But in the grey of the morning my mind becomes confused, between the dead and the sleeping and the road that I must choose"