Sunday, January 30, 2011

I've lived in Upstate New York now for twenty years.  When I first moved up here, the thought of a tremendous amount of snow was terrifying to me.  I dreaded the winters, feeling trapped inside while all of the white stuff fell.  One of the most difficult changes was the fact that in Rochester some of the heaviest snowfalls happen in March.  March!  In Indiana, I was out running around in a windbreaker in March.  Spring was on its way by then.  Not so up here.

Back in 1992 a coworker talked me into buying a pair of used cross country skis.  At the time, I didn't even know what they were or understood the skiing process.  We would spend early weekend mornings meeting at different parks around the area, gliding around on the skis.  I've been hooked ever since, and in 1994 I sprung for a new pair of wax-less skis which are still in rather good condition to this day.  Cross country skiing has rescued me from the winter blues.  I have no idea if my technique is any good, and I would probably make an expert skier cringe, but being able to get out of the house and get my heart rate up amidst all of the white stuff is invigorating and freeing.

Twelve years ago Bob and I built a house on several acres of land, and I was now able to put my skis on and take off out our back door.  No more driving twenty minutes to ski around several other people on public trails.  Now that we have the dog, he delights in going with me, dodging in and out of snow drifts, running along my tracks and sometimes stopping right in front of me, forcing me to stop and shout "DOG!" to keep from crashing.

I will never take this for granted.  Every time I go out, I stop and look around, and realize how blessed I am.  Bob and I know darn well that within ten years we could quite possibly be surrounded by housing developments.  It is probably inevitable.  I am taking the time now to focus on the absolute quiet of a field of snow, being able to hear the chickadees chirp in the tree line by the trail, and the fact that the dog can run freely for acres without roads or other houses in the way.

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