Sunday, February 6, 2011

On a winter's day

I like the simplicity of walking. This time of year there are so many outdoor activities that require equipment. Snowshoes, cross-country skis, ice skates. Don't get me wrong. These are all great activities and we partake of them all.

But this winter we have had a lot of snow. Each snow requires the breaking of new trails: the trail to the compost bin, the trail to the sheep shed, the trail to the wood pile, the trail to the car. Each day after a snowstorm we have had just the most amazing sunny days; a respite between storms to move snow around, sweep laden roofs, load wood boxes and grab a few hours outside moving our bodies before the next low pressure system sweeps through and we find ourselves huddled by the fire.

As a family we will don our gear and take to the woods. Mark will break the new trail with his snow shoes, I follow behind and Evan tags along on little snowshoes. We will follow the prints of coyotes or snowshoe hare. We will stop and wait for the smallest set of feet to catch up. Towards the end of this journey we will coax, prod and bribe with hot chocolate the owner of those small feet. We arrive home and there are heaps of snow-wet clothes draped on furniture around the woodstove.

But sometimes, a momma just needs a brisk walk. A simple outing where all that is needed is a good pair of boots, a plowed road and a knitted wool cap. Our road is 2 and 1/2 miles to the pavement. It is a good road of dirt with plenty of little hills, wide open expanses to get lost in,remnants of the sheep farm that was part of much of the land I walk through. I find that during these walks that, even though I am alone with my own thoughts, I am not surrounded in silence. The trees just recently coated in a layer of ice, creak in the wind. A dog woofs a greeting as I walk by. A snow blower engine turns over a couple of times.

I am alone with my own thoughts. I clear away of the clutter of the days and gather together what is good, lose the negative thoughts that can creep in. Several weeks after my 44th birthday I am still trying to reconcile my perception of self, in my mind, with the person who faces me in the the mirror. More gray, more wrinkles. I come to realize that I do not have any regrets for decisions I have made in my life. It would be so easy to hold onto the bad choices as some sort of excuse for not moving in a different direction. If this makes sense. What I feel is that there are choices I can make now that will not be impeded by a fear of failure or rejection. Is this wisdom gained?

Anyway, I am at the pavement and turn towards home. The wind is a little brisker heading home. I put my hat on to keep my ears warm. The little hill is a little more challenging as I walk against the wind. I am daydreaming about the perfect grilled cheese sandwich I will make when I get home.Homemade bread, local mustard, cheddar cheese, onion and local spinach. I like the simplicity of a walk....

No comments: