Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Walking on Water

The snowstorm blew into town right on schedule yesterday morning.  Even before the snowflakes started falling, those little email messages started floating into my in-box:
School canceled.
The campus offices are closed; classes held at discretion of the professor.
For the safety of those driving home, the gym will shut its doors early.
Due to inclement weather, the library is closed today.
And on and on.  It was a snow emergency.

Except a snow emergency is no emergency for a pedestrian.  The snow is a hazard to automobiles, but it's a playground for people with decent boots.

So (at this particular professor's discretion), I held class.  I bundled up the boys and we galumphed our way over to the campus, all of two blocks from my home.   My students gamely suited up and joined me.  Here are my students, learning something about geometry by making pictures of the outside snowy world on these large windows.

And after I released my students from the rigors of the college classroom, I changed into my running clothes and did my hill workout.  I really stink at running up hills, and I figure if I'm going to do the triathalon this August, I'd better get better at hills now.

So I jogged through white, downy neighborhoods to the Evil Valley Hill.  I ran up the hill, complained and gasped, and walk-trotted down the other side.  Turned around, ran up/complained/trotted down in the opposite direction.  I did that five times -- a total of about 3 miles, I think.  It was fantastic.  Or awful.  Well, the hill was awful, but the snow was fun.

[Update on my new expensive shoes:  As a few people pointed out, they are "rockers", which feel really funky if you're walking around, because they really do make you rock from heel to toe.  But when I'm running, I stay on my toes, so the rocking isn't an issue.  I've already worn them on two snowy, slippery 10-mile runs, plus today's hill workout, and they feel great when I'm running.  They have fantastic traction, and they keep my feet warm in crazy-cold weather.  If I have any problem with them, it's that they're subtly heavy --- 17 ounces each compared to 8 ounces for my normal running shoes.  On both of my really long runs, I felt slow compared to my running buddies, especially by mile 7.]

The last time we had a big snow storm, my son's drum teacher called me up to say, "Honey, it's not safe to drive.  Let's cancel lessons today."  The drum teacher was right that it wasn't safe to drive, but I got that call while my sons and I were on our hike back from the local market, a mere half-mile from the drum studio, and only two miles from our home.  The trip to the market had been an adventure, an expedition.  We brought home milk and yogurt, eggs and cinnamon, all packed on our backs.  We brought home a giant snowball that J-son named "Fred". We hiked all that way, and then we shoveled the driveway for the sake of the automobile we weren't using.

In fact, it's only because of the cars that can't go places that my meetings got cancelled yesterday, opening up the time to go for a snowy run, to teach the kids to play poker, to write up a few Craigs' List ads, and take care of other personal tasks that I've had on the back burner.

So yesterday's snow day was really mostly a fun day for us.  It gave us time to play, both indoors and outdoors.  There are real joys of living within walking distance of the places we want to go.


  1. I have to admit that snow is part of the reason I live in the South.

    1. Hah! yes! When I *do* go out in the snow, I enjoy feeling really tough and virtuous. And I do like feeling like I have a leg up -- so to speak -- on the cars.

      But I definitely go outside less than usual, and it does limit what I choose to do (not as much as if I drove, but certainly some). I'm looking forward to the weather where I don't have to spend a whole minute getting dressed and another minute undressing every time I leave or enter a building. -MM