Having spent most of my life in the Midwest and more recently these last five years in Maine, one might say I have always been a winter-lover. I vaguely remember photographs of myself as a small child standing just a few feet tall, happy smile on, with snow banks towering high next to me. And of course how could I forget the gleeful images of my father pulling my brother and I in our two-seater red plastic sled? As kids we wanted nothing more than for winter to continue forever and more days of zipping up snowsuits and heading out into the cold with only the promise of packaged hot cocoa with tiny fake marshmallows luring us back inside. It all felt so cozy and in my mind still seems so.
With this weeks major snow and ice storm, I think it was number twelve of the season, I must say I had a very hard time channeling that little girl who loved winter. In fact, I found myself swearing continuously under my breath as I awoke to the new day and put on my layers of clothing, an extra pair of socks, pulled a hat over my head, chose a cheerful, yet warm, scarf, tucked my jeans into huge LL Bean boots, crammed my hands into my gloves… the process seemingly taking longer and longer as winter drones on. Enough already! After this morning of swearing, bundling and falling on the ice two times I thought, okay MAV you have got to turn it around and fast—the only way: a walk.
Walks in general always change my life. I know it’s a strong statement but for me it is really quite true. A solo walk, for even 15 minutes, can ground me in a way that nothing else can. I’m moving, seeing new things, breathing fresh air and giving myself some time alone. The book The Tao of Inner Peace, by Diane Dreher, says, walking stimulates both sides of our bodies and our brains and helps us tune into our own inner rhythms.
We had just had a new batch of snow fall onto an already hardened and icy batch of snow; gorgeous. Sometimes when I need an extra boost of inspiration and concentration I bring my little point n’ shoot camera along as my walking partner. I shoot photographs generously and for no reason at all. It feels so good. On this walk my eyes and my camera found pink bits of plastic popping out from the path, half-awakened branches, buried treasures and shapes and gentle tire tracks and most importantly I found myself and my rhythm yet again… and I got the swearing in check.