Well, I did it. I got off my duff and went snowshoeing. Yep, I pulled myself off the couch, dug out the long underwear, strapped on the shoes, ventured to the back of the closet for the poles, and away I went. Now, I can’t take credit for the motivation. I owe that to my younger sisters, brother-in-law Jeff, our friend Sue, and their invitation. Otherwise, I would have wandered the house looking for some way to engage my brain, or worse, honed my skills channel surfing (of which I am a pro).
I have never been the athletic type. Shocker, huh? But I do realize the benefits of physical activity, fresh air, and the afterglow that comes of using what little muscles I have for something purely enjoyable. Yes, I want to feel that again.
We all met in a parking lot east of town, full of enthusiasm, and grateful to be outdoors on such a perfect winter day. Gosh, it felt good to be out of the house and among other humans (other than my husband). Of course, we had to catch up on the latest news with everyone first, but then we geared up and eagerly set out across the unbroken field, the woods welcoming us to venture within.
I am clearly the baggage here, although some may kindly say ‘no you’re not,’ but we all know it’s true. I am that one that’s very quick to volunteer to bring up the rear, as I know I can’t keep up with the rest. And besides, I tend to follow along, lost in the beauty of the woods, and humming Christmas tunes in my head as I go.
Jeff, a former Green Beret, was out front as he always is, breaking trail, taking the hills with the ease of a gazelle, then running down the other side, his antique snowshoes one with his long legs, darting in and out of the woods to see what he can find, and pointing out interesting facts as we go. In another life, I am convinced he was either Lewis or Clark.
And then, there’s me, the caboose. I huff and I puff. I stab the snow with my poles and pull myself along, pretending I am keeping up with little to no effort. Inside, I am desperately trying to ignore the burning in my thighs and the scream of my lungs for “air, more air, for God’s sake, more air!”
Okay, I protest loudly and complain piteously, but in all honesty, it was exhilarating. The cold air awakened the senses like nothing else. The blood pumped through me, energizing, reminding my muscles of why they reside within me, my bones feeling strong and able, and my brain kicking into high gear with all kinds of great ideas for new stories to write. The sight of the snow-covered trees, their branches heavy with their burden, the sound of birdsong, the smell of the clean, crisp winter air are just some of the bounty of life in this Wisconsin winter wonderland.
As of this writing, a few hours later, I cannot lift my arms without my shoulders vehemently protesting, my low back has locked up tighter than Fort Knox, and my shins burn with all the fires of Hades, and yet, I can’t wait to do it again.
It makes me feel young again and burns off a few of those Christmas cookies I’m still sneaking between meals. And I feel that winter is truly here now.
Okay, I’m going for the Ibuprofen and the TV remote.