Zero Days Revisited

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One summer a few years past, I explored the journal of a hiker on the Appalachian Trail. It contained many applications for me as a writer. (I wrote about these in an earlier post, “Zero Days.”) The terms ‘zero days’ and ‘nero days’ have integrated themselves into my vocabulary. For hikers ‘zero days’ are days when no steps are made along the trail. Days when only nominal progress is made are designated ‘nero days.’ Hikers require respite from the trail to refresh, repair, restock for the next section. So also  this writer and her seminary professor husband require days down from the mountain.

This past week we gladly we left the trail to spend time with the newest grandchild, two week old, Johanna. As you can see from the picture this was a pleasurable detour, a welcome week of zero and nero days. What better refreshment than to nap while a baby naps on you? The baby in our arms repaired any remnants of daily stress we might have carried off the trail. We stocked images Johanna’s unfolding personality to those of her 10 cousins in our grandchild storehouse. We spoiled Baby Jo, she spoiled us.

Refreshed, repaired, restocked, it’s time for us to hit the trail again with classes for John, book work for me. John is able to return from zero days with the same swift strides he left it. Me? I loiter, reluctant to leave the zero days. But the trail beguiles with the lure of nero days until I am ready for the brisk pace of ‘making miles’ once again.

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