I go walking: in the snow

riverscape 2It’s warm today by Winnipeg winter standards– the overcast sky holds in the earth’s warmth, helping the temperature to hover just below the freezing point. It makes for sloppy roads, but it is perfect for a walk, and warm enough to take off my mitts and take some pictures.

The river is frozen now. Almost. If you look closely you can see dark patches that signify an area where the water is still peeking through a thin layer of ice. The river is most dangerous in times of transition– in the early spring when the ice is breaking up, and in the early winter when it is still not fully frozen. But even in the dead of winter there can be treacherous open spots, especially near bridges and outflow pipes.

Note the dark patch. Not a good place for a walk.

Note the dark patch. Not a good place for a walk.

My cousin fell through just such a patch of thin ice one winter when he was a teenager, taking a short cut across a river to go visit our grandparents. Thankfully the friend he was with was able to pull him out and help him up the bank. By the time Grannie met him at her kitchen door he could barely walk because his pants had frozen solid.

I make my way along my familiar southward trail , observing the way the snow hides some things and highlights others.  I’m pleased to see there is a well-trampled path. I don’t encounter any cyclists now, but the regular walkers are undeterred by the arrival of wintery weather.  Rabbit tracks zigzag around the trees. I watch for deer, but it’s too early in the day. I would be more apt to encounter them at dusk.

Even more beautiful highlighted by a dusting of snow.

Even more beautiful highlighted by a dusting of snow.

The fallen tree that I wrote about in early October now lies adorned with a layer of white lacework that brings out the complexity of its structure. Everything that was lush and green a few months back is now either grey and angular, or hidden beneath a blanket of white.

As my boots crunch against the packed snow, I think about how grateful I am that the hours of hip-therapy walking I did to recover from surgery happened in the summer. I love walking in the snow, but it’s more difficult than walking on grass or pavement. Where it is packed down it is slippery, and where it is still fresh my feet sink and twist. At the same time I celebrate the fact that I can go walking in the snow. This time last year I was not walking anywhere but to and from the bus stop, and that was slow and painful and aided by a cane.

No one home to shovel the front step.

No one home to shovel the front step.

High in a tree, something catches my eye. A tiny birdhouse sits, abandoned for the season no doubt, while its inhabitants spend the winter months in more temperate conditions further south. The roof of the house is covered with snow, and there is a tiny mound of snow in front of the entryway.

It strikes me that I have no desire to fly south for the winter. No interest in tropical vacations or white sandy beaches. In spite of the cold, the ice, the inconvenience of snow covered cars and winter boots, I prefer to stay put in this wintery city. Even if it is more effort, I prefer to walk in the snow.

grass

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About Muddy River Muse

Writer. Reader Educator. Manager. Mother. Dreamer. And dedicated riverbank walker.
This entry was posted in A river runs through it, Yeah Write and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to I go walking: in the snow

  1. Anna, I’m amazed at these pix. Here in Ottawa, the river hasn’t even come close to freezing. I walk every day near it, and there is just a thin frozen rime along the edge, for about a foot out, no more. The difference in latitude produces these amazing differences. And we’ve had a foot of snow and freezing temps, too. But, as we’re more southerly, slight temperance. I miss being a hardy northerner!

  2. I love the photos.
    By the way, I hope you’ll stop by my blog today to read this: http://cynk.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/doing-violence-to-our-experiences/. No, I’m not doing shameless self-promotion. I picked you for my November comment of the month!

  3. Natalie DeYoung says:

    I have never seen a frozen winter. Now, after reading this, I sure want to. 🙂

  4. zoe says:

    Im with you …. I want to enjoy the cold and ice…. wow wild story about falling through the ice!

  5. jenbrunett says:

    Back when winters were much colder around here, Lake Ontario would freeze pretty solid. We would take hikes, walking from one side of the bay to the other. Then clear off the top layer of snow for broom hockey, watch the fisherman catch fish. Good times. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. TMW Hickman says:

    There’s something about walking in the snow, a quietness, that lends itself to introspection. You captured that sense beautifully. I used to love that part of winter. Of course, I hated shoveling the walk all the time, so here I am in Texas!

  7. Samantha S says:

    You’re making me long for snow in Boston! Nicely done!

  8. Beautiful scenes, both in your pics and in your words. I like the feeling I got from reading this piece.

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