As a kid growing up in Canada, winter was never seen as something negative. Probably a little nostalgia I’m sure but winter as a kid was all about snowball fights and hockey. For me mostly hockey. While I played organized hockey since I was 8, some of my greatest memories were skating in my backyard rink and playing pickup games with the kids from the neighbourhood.
I stopped playing hockey when I was 35. That was about the same time I began to travel in the winter for work. For the past 20 or so years, I’ve been able to go south for a least a week. More recently I probably spend at least 6 weeks escaping winter much of that with my Dad who wintered in Florida. I developed a theory that your tolerance for cold coincided with your age. For example when your 50, you get cold with any temperature under 50 F. My Dad who is now 88, keeps his apartment at that temperature. Once happy to be outside in winter, I now would regularly vocalize my distain for the season.
There are many things I don’t like about this pandemic but we are pretty blessed. I can work from home, I can see my grandkids and this summer I played more golf than I ever had. No complaints except as winter begins I realize this will be the first year I won’t escape it.
So with that, I now need to shift my brain and figure out a way to find some delight in winter. And it’s working. It began last winter after I listened to this podcast about defending winter. I live right beside a beautiful valley with walking trails. I’ve got the right clothes and I found the perfect toque. (My American friends may need to google that). When it’s really cold, (my new low-temperature threshold is -15C or 5F) I’ll walk for 30 minutes. If it’s warmer I’ll walk for an hour. There’s something satisfying about hearing your shoes meet hard-packed snow. It’s not quite a crunch sound but just enough to provide a quiet soundtrack. You also look at your feet a lot more since the surface changes more. I usually walk part of the time in total solitude. No podcast or music, just quiet. I’ll then walk the other half consuming my favourite podcasts.
Walking is certainly one way to embrace winter. But it’s also a slower pace. I’m going to embrace that too. Finding delight in something I use to chastize and dread isn’t easy but it’s necessary. I also have the great privilege of introducing my grandkids to winter.
I do realize it’s only November and we’ve got a long way to go. Maybe bookmark this post and leave a comment in March asking me how it’s working for me.