Every few weeks, there comes a time — especially in winter — when the city streets begin to close in around me. Suddenly, the beautiful brick row homes that line the streets feel more like barriers than my neighbor’s lovely houses, like walls closing in. The icy, un-shoveled sidewalks a hindrance; the defensive attitudes of city-dwellers (city drivers) a splash of ice water on even the most positive mood. I found myself slipping into this funk last weekend, the drive to the grocery store and then home to my apartment after work had been a battle, and even though it was Friday night, the thought of going back out again felt like more than I could handle. When this feeling arises in my soul, the kind of feeling that’s tough to describe but when attempted falls somewhere between trapped and cabin-feverish, I know it’s time to get out.
Growing up in the woods was an experience that I never expected to affect me so strongly. But now, on days when city living just gets to be too much, I long for the hushed sway of pine trees and infinite silence that only comes with deep, dark woods. To stand beneath the forest canopy, basking in the joy of pure stillness, of nature just doing its thing. Strapped to my feet, my snowshoes allow me the unique ability to walk on (frozen) water, occasionally straying from the path to discover sunlit pasture and paths that only the deer are privy to.
In recent years, snowshoeing has become my favorite way to decompress and enjoy winter. Since moving away from the Northeast — and away from my home mountain, where snowboarding was cheap and a near-daily occurrence — I’ve had to change my perspective when it comes to what to do when the cold hits. There are only so many weekends that I can deal with hanging out at home. Winter, at least the snowy part, isn’t always right outside my front door these days, but it is usually just a short road trip away. Up, up, up through the mountains, to higher elevations and less populated areas, where there is almost always snow. My companion and I remarking from time to time about how that road reminds me of home, and how that town is just so reminiscent of Vermont. It’s a mini vacation, one that only lasts a few hours, just long enough to hit that ‘reset’ button and make returning to the hustle of the city that much less of a jolt. Long enough to once again be inspired.
So, where will you wander this weekend? How will you change your perspective? I have yet another state park on my list, just dying to be crossed off. My snowshoes lean casually against the wall next to my front door, inviting me out, beckoning me back to the trees. They’re a reminder. An invitation to move, to trudge through snow and make my legs burn, following the tracks of so many animals that came before me. Get the heart rate up, get those lungs going, breathe deeper than I have all week and just let it all go. At the end of the day I will have returned to myself, at peace and ready to take on another week.
+ How do you reset? Please share in the comments!