You know it’s time to go outside when your snowshoes start talking to you. You can hear them, way out in the shed, begging you to get dressed in your warm winter clothes and come outside.
“HOW MANY DAYS ARE YOU GOING TO STAY IN THAT HOUSE, ANYWAY?” the snowshoes shout.
You try to ignore them. You cuddle up under more blankets on your couch and remind them that (through telepathy, of course) that you’ve been outside for 365 days in a row and you are “taking a break”.
The snowshoes aren’t buying it.
“GET ON OUT HERE, RIGHT NOW!” they shout. “IT’S BEAUTIFUL OUTSIDE TODAY! IT’S WARM! YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE IT! HURRY UP!!!”
Finally, to shut them up, you pull on your white snowpants and blue fleece jacket and warm knitted cap and Sorel boots and dig the snowshoes out of the shed.
“Thank goodness,” is all they say, “Thank goodness you’ve finally seen the light.”
So you drive your car down the road (because you’re not willing to snowshoe that far…not yet…) and park the car near the Eagle Pond. You remember how to strap on the snowshoes. You remember last winter.
Then comes the problem of the Gloves. Here’s the conundrum: if you wear fingered light gloves you’ll be able to operate the camera, but your digits will freeze. If you wear warm knitted mittens (that your mom gave you last time she visited) you can’t take pictures. So you finally decide to wear the flimsy gloves and stick them in your jacket in between photo shots.
You leave the car and strike out into the woods. Suddenly you’re ecstatic to be back out in nature! (How could you have let that renegade voice convince you that you wanted to stay in the house for so long?) It feels so fresh and invigorating!
Yes, the fingers freeze rather quickly. But it is 20 degrees and not -15 degrees, so why complain too much?
You meander. Let the snowshoes go where they want. After all, they were the ones that convinced you to enjoy this beautiful January day outdoors.
You survey the landscape. What interesting photos might whisper their own gifts to you? You look carefully. Up, down, around corners. You try not to fall in the stream as you lean down very very close to capture a floating orange cedar.
You think about the difference in landscape between the winter and summer. Last summer you wandered here, surrounded by lush green. It’s a different place today, a new place, an enchanted winter place.
The fingers are really cold now. It’s time to go home. First you must figure out how to climb back onto the road with the snowshoes. The bank seems too steep. You try; you can’t breach the plowed bank.
So what do you do? You zip your camera in your pocket and crawl up and over the snow bank and arrive, victorious!, on the road beaming from ear to ear. Glad no one saw that undignified crawl.
And as happy as the snowshoes to be back in nature, exploring the woods.