THE NORTH WIND DOTH BLOW

It’s bloody freezing outside. About sixteen degrees colder than usual from what I understand. Most folks are huddled inside around their wood-stoves eating thick soups from mugs and wearing thick woolen socks that you can’t possibly fit a pair of shoes over. And why not? Most folks aren’t going anywhere. It’s a stay- in -your- jammies kind of a day.
I get the soup and the fire and the socks, really I do, but I need my walk, every day pretty much. And so I venture out no matter what the weather. Rain? Not a problem. I use an umbrella and as long as the Lucy Factor is dry and comfortable I don’t mind getting wet. After all there’s only so wet you can get and after that you don’t get any wetter. Hot? I like a good hot day but I go early so the LF doesn’t get too many harmful rays and we are religious about sun block and hats. Cold? Not a problem usually because I know how to bundle and I bring a blanket for the LF and she snuggles into her ergo carrier against my chest and I wrap my coat around her. What does get me is the wind. The icy wind whistles down from the mountain following the roads and it is a mighty wind. It pierces to the bone, it makes my teeth hurt sometimes, it is incredibly bracing. You feel alive. It’s wonderful. So I still go out but occasionally I wonder, when I am at the top of the long uphill climb that is the mid-way point of my hike, if it maybe wasn’t such a good idea coming out on that particular day. It’s happened only twice. Once when the humidity was so bad my lungs felt squeezed. And yesterday.
The LF started complaining at the point when it made absolutely no sense to turn around and go back. I had to keep going. I wasn’t even sure what had upset her. She was in a triple layer bunting with two hoods, swaddled in the ergo. She was dressed much more warmly that I was. I took her gloves off her hands since they were tucked in under my shirt and put them on her feet. She still wailed, so I gave her my gloves. Pulled them up to her knees. Her feet looked like black chicken feet. She stopped fussing and went to sleep. I finished the last forty-five minutes of the hike alternating which frozen slab of a hand to slip into my pocket and putting my back to the wind whenever it gusted up again. About half way down the mountain though I stopped feeling cold and started feeling exhilarated. And clear-headed and strong and fantastic, and I noticed how much more there is to see when there are no leaves on the branches. How the birds- cedar waxwings and nuthatches and chickadees and finches- are thick in the trees and under the leaves you can hear the mice and voles and shrews collecting seeds and berries for the winter. So much industry, so much energy, in sight and just out of sight.
I ran into a lady getting her mail.”You are out in all kinds of weather,” she said. I nodded. “It must be nice as long as the sun is shining,” she continued. We both looked at the pale blue sky scoured of any trace of clouds. But you know, I’ll come out when it’s gray and gloomy too because it is just as beautiful.
I met another lady during a snowstorm walk which is one of the best because everything is quiet, muffled, and blanketed in white and for some reason it feels warm, and people stay home and there are few cars, and she said “You must be Canadian!”
I like to think of myself as an Elizabeth Bennet sort of heroine, striding across the landscape with my arms swinging, filling my lungs with that good air, and letting my thoughts range.
It’s got to get a lot colder to keep me inside but I’ll dress the baby more warmly tomorrow.
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