Monday, December 5, 2011

Walking in a Winter Way of Life

I was going to be really creative and think up all new lyrics to Walking in a Winter Wonderland, in order to tell about my morning walk.  But I'm more comfortable with prose than poetry.  You'll just have to forego the pleasure of my verse.

When we got the kids up this morning, it was a whopping 3 above zero.  Oooh, a little cold.  But by the time I left for my walk at 8:00, it was down to zero. I bundled up in my sweatshirt and parka, wrapped my extra long and wide scarf around my head three times, and took off for Lana's.

I pulled up into Lana's drive; as is typical, I was a few minutes late.  She had already been around the barnyard a couple of times.  See, when you get all bundled up, you can't wait for your partners inside or you overheat.  And you can't really come outside and just stand around waiting either.  So Lana sometimes gets in a few more rounds than the rest of us.

Today when I arrived, she was finishing up a round.  She approached my car as I got out and pulled myself together.  She bemoaned the fact that her glasses were fogging up because of her warm breath filtering up through her neck gator and landing on the cold glass.  She set her glasses on the back window of my car.

I contemplated doing the same.   But I'm really, really blind without my glasses.  Really.  Blind.  I'm not at all comfortable without them.  I thought if I could adjust my scarf correctly, I could make it work.

And so we started out.

As Lana and I were finishing our first round together, we could see through the trees that Connie's car had pulled into the drive.  Unlike myself, Connie's not typically late, but she's been battling a head cold.  We were both surprised, pleasantly so, that she was up to walking on such a cold morning.  Jan was with her, so we had our complete foursome.

We tried to keep a brisk pace this morning, to keep the warm blood pumping into our extremities.  We all adjusted various times to find the optimal warmth for our particular apparel items and metabolism.  I pulled my fingers up into the palm part of my gloves and balled my fists to warm my thumbs, which had gotten cold on the drive over.  Lana and Jan traded hand coverings, because Lana's hands were too hot in her mittens and Jan's were getting cold in her gloves.  Connie had enough layers on, that she was getting a bit too warm.  I kept fidgeting with my scarf to get it just right.

But I soon realized that the whole "adjust the scarf to keep the glasses clear" thing was not going to happen.  So I settled for scooting them down to the end of my nose to see over the top.  Which worked fine until my shoe came undone.  I must have been kind of wriggling my foot or trying to look down past the foggy glasses or something, because Lana asked what was wrong.  I said, "I think my shoe is undone, but I can't see far enough to tell for sure."  She looked down and sure enough, my shoelace was dangling. 

That lead to a big discussion and a few chuckles about all of our glasses being so useless.  We spent the rest of that round cooking up silly rescue ideas. If somebody stumbled into the woods, another of us would be sure to come and get her; and somebody would give a holler if one or another of us was about to get tangled in a piece of farm equipment.

When we got back to the driveway, I veered off to the cars to tie my shoe and deposit my glasses. Yes, I had surrendered to the frosty air and decided to walk blindly.  But then, really, looking over the top of my glasses is no less blind than just taking them off.  But still, when one is a blind as I, glasses become a security thing.  If they are at the end of my nose, I know they are there if I need them.  I could always breathe on them and clear them off if need be.  But I bravely set them on the back window with Lana's glasses and forged on. 

I heard Brad calling to the ladies as they passed his shop, "It's nice and warm in here if you want to come in and warm up."  After having slowed down for a little bit, and thereby cooling off a little, the warmth was tempting.  By this time, we had all developed a hoary layer of frost on our scarves and headgear.  But instead of giving into the desire to warm up, I jogged past the shop to catch up with the others.  When I caught up with them, I kept up my jog.  I told about how books about dogsledding, or those set in the old days of horse and sleigh, often describe having to get down periodically to jog alongside, to keep warm.  The mushers and drivers would stomp their feet and pound their chests to get the blood to their extremities.

Well, the girls decided they wanted to give that a try.  After a few steps of it, somebody said, "Hey, this really works.  Let's try to make it to those bales up there."  And so we jogged past the cowyard and laughed as the cows watched us pass. 

I do realize that zero is hardly extreme in the big scheme of things.  But taking a walk in such invigorating weather gives a person a little lift, simply because of the spirit of adventure and accomplishment it imbues.

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