Sunday, January 11, 2009

Snow again

So is it a sign of global warming that we have so much snow? Although while it feels like a lot; I don't know if it actually is. Lily's had two snow days so far and work has let out early at least three times and it's only early January.

The trick to living in it is not ignoring it, getting out and enjoying it. Dave dropped Lily off at her Star Wars game today and was going to go skiing on the bike path. I just went snowshoeing and it was a lot of fun. I only had a few minutes so I took the loop out our back door through the woods to the main trail, and then followed that up to what we call Fairy Rock, a huge boulder where we took our Christmas card photo last year and followed the loop back out to the parking area at the top of Marian Street.

I have such good feelings about this trail now, after living here a couple of years. You may remember that we first found it in early January 2007, when we were living in Amherst and Lily was at school and I had a sore back. Dave had picked up a great book on hiking in the Pioneer Valley and found me a hike that sounded lovely but not too strenuous. It was a great hike, maybe a mile, mile and a half, to Fitzgerald Lake. We ate lunch on a big boulder and marveled at the 70 degree weather (depressing).

Coming from Amherst we had driven to the Marian Street entrance, so in April when I saw the new Northampton listing on Marian Street I knew that if the house was even remotely nice, I wanted to live there. I knew right where it was.

The funny thing was, we had been looking hard for a house that spring and just not finding anything, and my friend Anne said, you'll know it when you see it. She said she could walk into a house and know if it was right or not. If it didn't feel right in the first five minutes she wouldn't even bother to check out the rest of it. I took solace from that, trusting that I just hadn't seen my house yet and trusting that I would know it when I did. When the new listing came up, so new they didn't even have time to declutter it for the inside photos, I had a sense. And I was right. With all its faults -- the latest is that Dave keeps tripping on the stairs so he finally measured them and it turns out no one is the same distance, they each vary, some by many inches -- it's still a great place to live, and I have found the neighbors I was looking for.

Just a digression there. At any rate, every time I go into the woods alone I feel apprehensive. I don't have my bearings, I don't feel at home, I don't know what to do if a bear comes along, say. I have raced down to the lake and back in 45 minutes just out of plain fear (and of course I don't tend to get motivated until late in the day, when I've only got an hour or so of daylight left. Duh.

But today, and last weekend, I snowshoed around on my new snowshoes, and maybe because there's so much light and you can see so far through the leaf-less trees, I wasn't frightened. Last weekend I was following some ski tracks to see where they'd gone. Today I just did this loop, as I say, but I could have gone on for ages. It was quiet, peaceful, beautiful white fluffy snow, the branches of the trees heavy with it, the air still and quiet. The kind of moment when you wish you were a poet and could describe it all. Where's Mary Oliver when I need her?

And it's giving me a sense, not of ownership, quite, but familiarity with the woods. I feel like I know where I am, I am starting to know the rocks and trees and dips and sways of the trail. When I got the snowshoes I also bought these telescoping hiking poles and they are actually really handy in the snow. I like them a lot. I feel much more confident.

I am trying to get out and do some sort of exercise every day, and to me that usually means going on the treadmill for 45 minutes or swimming 1,000 yards. But now I am fat and old and stiff and out of shape (yes, I really am) and I am starting where I am. And where that is today is walking in my quiet, snow-filled woods on snowshoes.

By the way, if anyone knows about snowshoes and wants to fill me in, that'd be awesome: Mine keep falling off, at least of them does. Today I adjusted them and tightened them, and then readjusted one of them, and I think I have it. If I keep it very taut above the lip on the heel of my Sorel boots I seem to be okay. Last week the left one fell off 10 times in a half hour, this time it fell off once and then not again, in 15 minutes. Makes it much more fun that way.

PS -- my friend Kim has started a blog, which I recommend. See the link to the right.

PPS -- house to do list, not in any order:
--new siding and repair all hidden rot and put in insulation where there isn't any (there's a lot of places, it feels like)
--new roof, sigh
--replace all the stairs?
--re-carpet or something else the basement area by the coat closet
--wood-burning stove of some sort (maybe glass?) in the fireplace
Not to mention landscaping and gardening, now that the hemlocks are out of the front yard. Big sigh.

1 comment:

  1. Soooo envious of your snow-covered woods, they sound just delightful. And thanks for the shout-out! k xoxo


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