I went for another walk at lunch. You may be impressed with all the walking I’ve been doing lately. What with walks along the river and walks in the nature park. Let me just remind you that I was given an ultimatum, given it over my cell phone in my local grocery store, and it was delivered with all the warmth a mafia enforcer would use when talking to a bookie who’s been skimming the take: I need to get some exercise.

So, I found myself setting off across the river again. It was pretty miserable. But I amused myself by observing the runners, their muscular thighs and sunken cheeks blasted an incandescent pink by the wind-blown rain, desperately trying to pretend they were enjoying themselves. I tell no such lies, to myself or anyone else.

But even though I don’t enjoy walking in the freezing rain, I do enjoy being outdoors, at least a little. It’s been very interesting to see the Willamette river running so high. The opaque brown water shoves through downtown with a force that is easy to overlook–until you see the roiling, turbulent cauldrons downstream of the bridge pylons. I would never have appreciated the violence streaming through town if I hadn’t been out walking next to it. There is a visceral connection to the world through its weather, a connection that you run the risk of severing when you never go outside and get all your information through the TV or the internet.

I walked further today, from the Hawthorne Bridge all the way to the Steel Bridge, and back over the river. If I’m going to make a habit of this, I’m going to have to bring a change of clothes, or at least a pair of rain pants.

And I’ll need to practice that glazed, pink-cheeked grimace that lets everyone know a little cold and rain won’t keep me indoors.