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Waiting to Inhale

Waiting to Inhale

As I recover from shoulder surgery and away from the trails, I have had plenty of time to think. Never a good thing! This is my fourth surgery on that shoulder so I have had a lot of time to think over the years but the difference was that I wasn’t a hiker for the first three. After those I was just waiting to go back to a hobby-less world full of bland routines. After each of those stays on the injured list the first thing I did when I was cleared was let out a giant exhale, a sigh, knowing my repetitive world would start again after the pause. Now I am like swimmer who has been under water to the limit and just waiting to inhale.

Breath of the City

My recovery is taking place downtown Denver. The streets are full, the shops are busy. The smell of exhaust is trapped against the iron and brick. Restaurants exhale the fumes of fried food and spilled beer.

Hammers, Horns, and shouts form a chorus of background music. Never still, never quiet. The sounds echo off the towering buildings and their glass skins. A distant siren. A dog bark.

Energy is formed from the sounds coupled with the smells of the city. Together with the constant motion of the hustle and bustle, the energy combines into a chaos that forms into a kind of comfort for those of us who call it home.

But, we don’t inhale that energy, that chaos. We absorb it.

Subtlety of Nature

What I found in nature was the opposite. I didn’t know that I would miss it as much as I did until it was gone for a moment. The thought of the smell of grass combining with a budding flower altogether with the fresh pine needles immediately tickle my nose as I close my eyes. Each hammer that I hear in town transforms in my mind to woodpeckers attacking the bark in perfect rhythm. The wailing sirens replaced by the trickle of a stream of melted snow rising to a crescendo of a roaring river.

The energy is all around the woods, albeit in a different way. Instead of chaos the woods bring calm. The fast pace of the city is replaced by the slow and methodic tempo of a waving branch. The smells, the sounds, are like a violin compared to the drums of the city. Both structured and musical but one softer and more inviting.

A lake that stretches from the start of frame to the back and leads to mountains. Pine trees line the sides of the frame.
The calm of nature is what I miss and ready to inhale it all


When I am cleared from this surgery it won’t be an exhale, or sigh, that I need to move forward. I will be craving the inhale of the woods. All of those smells and sounds. The endless views of nothing and everything all at once. All of my senses will be soaking in the first moments on the simplest trail. Each step embracing the calm I was missing for all those years exhaling. Each tree I pass replacing a street sign but still telling me where my journey is headed with the same accuracy.

I choose to inhale now. To bring in the positive and notice the small things. To not let the chaos engulf me during this pause. I miss it. I miss the breath, the natural wonders, the time standing still. Until then I will wait. Patiently but with bated breath. Just waiting. Waiting to inhale.

More from the Fatman

I will continue to intermingle hiking and life blogs for a few weeks while I recover. If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy more of the posts on my Fatman’s Rambling page. Blogs such as “Hiking Alone not Lonely Hiking“, “Winslow, Arizona” and “Screw it, I’m Trying” as well as many others may interest you there. If you have any comments or topics you would like me to cover, feel free to email me at Or you can keep the conversation going by following me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

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