Sunday, February 16, 2014

I Forget To Be Young Sometimes

I needed to exercise today, but it was cold and miserable outside, so I decided that I would go to the mall to walk. But that wouldn't work because it's cold and miserable outside but warm and pleasant inside the mall. What would I do with the coat I'd have to bundle up in on my way there? They have lockers, but who wants to pay for those? I could leave it on a bench, but what are the chances that it would be there when I get back?  But I had just finished a really stressful chapter and was wired. And besides, I am working my way back to running, so I just really needed to get a good hard walk in.

So I sucked it up, bundled up, and checked the radar because it looked pretty gloomy out there. Clear as could be. No snow within 100 miles of us. Off I went. It was cold, but I knew how to dress against it from back in my running days. The odd thing is that the radar was wrong. It was spitting snow as I left and snowing pretty steadily by the time I got to my turnaround at my parents' house. As I turned in to my driveway, it really started belting, so I shot the video above.

Snow's definitely nothing new around these parts, especially this winter. I've turned into a humbug on the subject, complaining every time it snows and bellyaching about how much I want it to be summer. I've told so many friends that I don't know why I'm this way because I used to love it when I was younger. Not anymore. All I see is the inconvenience of class time lost to snow and less time to prepare my kids for the AP Exam.

And then today happened. I just got back from walking for almost an hour in a steady snow. It reminded me of a few things. Things I knew when I was young but I've forgotten as I've embraced my curmudgeonliness.

First, snow can only be enjoyed when you're out in it. And I don't mean driving in it or shoveling it. I mean just out in it, watching it fall down, feeling it on your eyelashes, and catching it on your tongue. Walking through it today, just letting it pelt my face, I felt something I haven't felt in several months: pure, unadulterated joy. I felt like a kid again. No cares. No worrying about tomorrow. I was just enjoying being in the snow like I used to but haven't in decades.

Second, exercise is fun, but only when you do it outside. Back when I ran half-marathons (which I plan to do again before 2014 ends) I ran in all weather, with the possible exception of thunderstorms, though you might not be surprised just how fast you can run when you're still not home and a big thunder clap hits nearby. Over the past several years, I've joined gyms in the winter and trudged away on the treadmill, wondering where the joy of running went. It's been there all along. But it was outside waiting for me to remember where I left it.

So, to my friend Julie Bertram, the queen of the snow dance, I say this: just keep on dancing. :)

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