Saturday, February 24, 2007

Walking in a storm....

Today I spent most of the day reading a good novel. But by this afternoon I felt lethargic and decided to take a walk. I don't know what it is about being in the elements, but I always feel much better after taking a walk. It had been snowing for awhile and we already had about three inches. However, out in the open the snow blows around, so in some places there was one inch and in others there were six! It made walking a little more difficult. We live on the edge of town, and my normal 2.4 mile route is away from the town and toward the country. It was great, not too cold and the wind wasn't too bad until I turned around and headed back. Guess I should pay more attention to the direction of the wind! As I was walking into the wind I wondered what had possessed me to go walking out in a storm. It certainly wasn't bad enough that I'd get lost. Visibility was good. But as the wet snow hit me in the face it stung a bit, so I ducked my head and watched my feet, looking up only once in a while to see if there were any oncoming vehicles. And then I started thinking again about the nostalgia I felt in anticipation of the storm. Maybe that's where it began, the desire to be outside in the snow. I haven't walked in the snow for years. If you know me then you know that my idea of a good time in winter is sitting in front of the fireplace reading a good novel. But there was something about the memories that were stirred, as I wrote about the approaching storm yesterday, that created a desire to relive something, or renew my acquaintance with winter. When I was a kid we'd play outside for hours after a big storm, my brothers and sisters and I. We'd climb onto the garage using the walnut tree next to it as a ladder. Then we'd jump from the roof of the garage into the 12-15 foot snow drifts. Over and over again we'd climb and jump until we tired of the game or got too cold and went inside to warm up. There was always something exciting and refreshing about the new snow. I felt that freshness as I walked today. Everything coated freshly in white and all the drab, dark, dirty snow covered. The whiteness so brilliant it lightens everything. Then there are the bodily feelings I was aware of. The feel of the snow under my boots, with sometimes the awareness of the slippery ice coat from the rain in the beginning. The cold against my cheeks, and the wet snow on my face. Most of the time it was fine, but when I walked into the wind it stung. I was aware of the warmth from the exercise of walking, and my upper body felt warm the entire time. However, I felt the sting of cold on my legs under my jeans, especially when the wind was blowing strong toward me. I kept thinking about running a warm bath, putting on some soothing music, and lying in the tub to warm myself up. In fact I didn't do that, but shoveled the front walk when I reached home then made myself a cup of hot tea. It's still snowing and will snow throughout the day tomorrow. I'll probably stay inside.

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