I really, really, REALLY-really don’t like snow. Maybe I vaguely like the prospect of a white Christmas, or the cozy thoughts I associate with being stuck at home with my two favorite people (provided we have enough food, of course). Beyond that, I sort of like how pretty it looks from inside the window of our DC home, and how happy it makes my kindergartner son Eric. But I dislike everything else about it, especially being out in it.
When blizzard watches and warnings started earlier this week, I took heed, went to the grocery store, and bought a LOT of food. By the time the snow started Friday at 1PM, I was halfway through baking a cake for my husband David’s 44th birthday, and was all set for a lonnnnng hunkerdown.
Eric was chomping at the bit, asking –within minutes of the snow starting– when we’d be going out to play. I told him sometime tomorrow, and reminded him there would be no we, just him and Dad.
Saturday came and went. David and Eric, and seemingly every individual on my street and the street behind it and the other one beyond that, spent time outside on more than one occasion, making it look like a neighborhood festival of some kind. I won’t deny I felt peer pressure to join in. But every time I opened the door just enough to get a decent picture was enough for me to reassert my HELL no!
By Sunday morning, I’d eaten quite a bit of David’s birthday cake, and of the focaccia bread I made on Saturday to go with soup. I was feeling sluggish, and the view outside our door increased my anxiety the more it reminded me of that horribly jarring snowstorm episode on Little House on the Prairie.
I also knew cabin fever was starting to set in.
When I saw that my neighborhood yoga studio was offering most of their regularly scheduled classes, I took it as a sign to challenge myself and venture out on foot. The studio is about half a mile from our house. Obviously, I needed courage and fuel for the hike. So I treated myself to a morning slice of cake with a second cup of coffee. Then, before I could change my mind, I squeezed my 40-year-old Puerto Rican hips into a pair of snow pants that I don’t remember ever buying. They still had the tag on and were surely a tight squeeze even back in the conveniently forgotten time when they were purchased. After almost getting cold feet –no pun– twice, out I went.
The thing I feared most happened almost immediately. In my case it wasn’t slipping and falling, but sinking into a snowbank. I was up to my thighs within minutes of leaving the house. This triggered both my latent claustrophobia and my fear of drowning (I’m not saying it’s logical, but thus is the nature of irrational fears) and sent my heart racing. I wanted to turn back. But I pushed on, motivated more by pride than the promise of stretching my stiff limbs in the warmth of the yoga studio.
When crossing over (and plunging into) these wickedly high mounds of snow, my phone almost went flying out of my hands. Luckily I never did lose it, but it was close enough that I have to wonder how many phones ended up buried in snow this weekend. Word to the wise: Stop, take your pictures, then put your damn phone back in your pocket before you resume walking.
The other thing I had several close calls with was dog poop. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Dearest dog owners, just because it’s snowing, that doesn’t give you a free pass from picking up your dog’s crap. It is nasty on any normal day, and so much more so against freshly fallen snow, with neighbors in various stages of struggling to maintain our balance. Seriously, kiss my icicles!
Done ranting. Thanks.
Streets that I know like that back of my hand looked very different, and felt quite disorienting, under 20+ inches of snow. And since the streets were clearer than the sidewalks in places, they were more populated with people than cars. I felt like I was in a game of Find the Curb, which slowed me down and made me wobbly, but was also kinda fun.
Finally I made it. When I confessed to my yoga teacher that this was my first time out of the house since the blizzard started, she and another few people echoed, “Me, too!” Not that I was fishing for an amen, but it was a welcomed bit of you’re-not-alone validation. The class was PACKED! We huffed and puffed through our poses together. It was very worth it.
I headed back with new found confidence. I noticed the charm and beauty more, and probably smiled more, too. It may not sound like a lot, but I felt as though I’d conquered something. And I did it for me, on my terms and through my own resources. Have I gone back outside? No. But I did learn today that the countdown to Memorial Day has already begun!