(With apologies to Fleet Foxes.)
The snow fell on Sunday, huge lazy drifting flakes that gently covered the last remains of fall's scattered leaves. The bird feeders grew puffy helmets; a male cardinal paused for some sunflower seeds, bright red against the white. I, in my Sunday not-so-best (comfy pants and fleece), spent the day ensconced in warmth, feet tucked into wool clogs, nestled in a blanket on the sofa with the two tabbies by my side. Guilt at not going out for a long run nagged at me only slightly. I was having a difficult time coming to grips with the sudden change of seasons. I knew that the surprise Indian summer weather of two weeks ago would never last; however, I just wasn't prepared to have winter shoved in my face so soon.
Monday morning when I released the hound into the backyard at 5:45 the frigid air reached in through the open door and slapped me in the face. A few flakes were still spiraling out of the sky and my motivation to go out withered, black and dead as the leaves on my basil plant after the first frost. I fled for the warmth and safety of the gym where I did three insufferable miles on the treadmill and then caught up on my celebrity gossip with Us Magazine while pedaling on the recumbent bike.
This morning I steeled myself. No more of this lackadaisical foolishness. The cold weather is here to stay and I need to accept that it will be around for five more months. I cannot run on the treadmill all winter.
I strapped myself into my cold-weather best (Asics Thermopolis pants, Pearl Izumi thick base layer, Asics Storm Shelter jacket, Sugoi neck tube, hat, gloves) and stepped onto the crackling snow on my doorstep. It was 19 degrees F. The sky was clear, the stars brilliant. The nearly full moon hung low in the sky, its still-bright light making the fresh snow glow. My breath plumed in the cold as I crunched down my driveway. I set off and the cold air burned into my lungs, brought a flood of tears to my eyes. My fingers and nose grew numb and protested this cruel treatment.
By mile 1 I was warm inside my clothes, the first beads of sweat moistening the band of my hat. By mile 2 the first hint of light appeared on the eastern horizon, the coming sunrise ready to do battle with the moonlight casting my shadow ahead of me, blue on the snow. The streets of my town were deserted; only the truly brave, hardcore, or insane would venture out on foot at this hour, in this cold. By mile 3 I thought: Why did I wait this long? Why did I fight so hard? This is delicious and refreshing! By mile 4 I felt like I could have run 4 more, but alas, duty called and I crunched up the driveway in the opposite direction.
I am now ready to take on the worst a Michigan winter has to offer. Bring it.