10 December 2010

Snow Walking

I like snow. I like to walk in snow. I like the print that my boot makes. It is that of a penguin conference, convened on ice floes. If I hop with both feet, then the penguins of the left and right feet are looking at each other, which is better for communication. I'm sure they would prefer that I hopped all of the time for the sake of their conference, but that would tiresome. I'm sure they rendezvous in the closet, anyway. It's nice to have a good footprint.

I was once a papergirl--trudging through feet-deep snow, papers piled on my back in a giant sack--the Santa Claus of local news. I enjoyed those walks. They reminded me of a time when all we had were our legs to carry us where we wanted to go--our legs, our backs, our arms--to light the fires and build the shelters which kept back the cold--places to snuggle in, to tell stories in, places to dream new worlds in.

I enjoy starting a new trail--just a single pair of footprints across a vast expanse of white. I feel like the only human, with sky of night and planet white, "a child, in the first part of an instant, numb to it every other night but this!" (Mein Bruder schrieb dieses.)

The cold can be dangerous. It is essential to be properly armored. I have an ankle-length green coat. My brother calls it the celery coat. I probably waddle... a giant, waddling stalk of celery. A friend of mine is
afraid of both women and celery. I must frighten him very much as an enceleried woman, but he is very polite and doesn't say so. I lace my headphones through my coat, so I can have tunes while I wander. This all adds up to a waddling cocoon of winter wandering happiness. Architecture in Helsinki is the perfect soundtrack for winter waddling: Heart It Races

Moving through snow presents many interesting options. You can make footprints--close together, far apart, right... right... left, right... right... left.... You can glide through it, as though you were skating or skiing. When its powdery, you can fluff it up in the air with every step. If it's crème brulée snow, you can punch holes through the surface. (I think this is the result of a
slight warming in temperature and then rapid refreezing at the surface. The molecules of the surface snow have a closer, more ridgid relationship than the softer, more particulated under-snow.)

Walking is good exercise. Walking in snow is especially good exercise. Not only do you have the added resistance of extra layers of clothing, but your steps meet with more resistance. I recommend going off-sidewalk, where the terrain is less even, requiring more stabilizing effort from, and thus toning of, your cal
f muscles. When you go off-sidewalk you're also more likely to fall, but falling in sno
w is kind of fun. You might even want to fall down on purpose.

So whether for your health or for the sheer beauty of a walking in a winter wonderland, put on your boots, get out there, and make some footprints!

For more ideas of what you can do on a snowy day, try Ezra Jack Keats' The Snowy Day.

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