When he tired of this we made our way out to the front of the house and played in the empty street since the sidewalks weren't clear and no one was driving on our block anyway. I chased him down the steep hill of our street and around the corner, then carried him back up, only to chase him back down the hill again as soon as his little feet touched the ground. We repeated this a number of times. (I want down, Mommy! Down! Hehehehe! ..... Uh-oh! Up, Mommy, up! I want up! Whaaahhh!)
Then in the afternoon, while the boy was napping, I decided to take a walk. My husband was home; the sun was shining and there was a mid-day break in the falling snow, so I went out for an hour walk, and climbed as many steep hills as I came across, which was quite a few; my neighborhood is very hilly. I also called the hubs on my cell while walking to tell him I had invented a new winter sport: snowclimbing. When you end up at a park you thought would be plowed, and it isn't plowed, and so you climb up the hill by clomping through knee-deep snow, trying to step into the existing pattern of footprints, and laughing at your own idiocy? Snowclimbing! Don't try to steal it. My husband and sister both seemed unimpressed, but I'm pretty sure that's because they're secretly plotting to steal it.
It was such a relief to be in my body again; winter is hard on the spirit, but I think it's harder because I don't move as often, or as hard, as I need to, and in Central New York we sometimes go weeks without seeing the sun. I simply can't force myself to do a Jillian Michaels workout regularly, no matter how effective, as a substitute for being outdoors: walking, hiking, or even just playing: moving the way my body was made to move. The 30 Day Shred is an effective 25 minute fitness routine, but it's no substitute for joy. Lunging up a hill in hiking boots, toward a panoramic view of the the downtown cityscape, or pulling my toddler in a red sleigh while the sun glints off the wet, white snow and his laughter competes with the cawing of crows: is joyful. My muscles move, and my heart rate soars, but these aren't the point. The point is joy. Three minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio, one minute of abs, all in the middle of my messy living room? Not what I'd call joy. *Ahem*
Movement, though? Fast enough to steal my breath, hard enough to make my muscles ache under the poetry of the clouds and the seldom seen sun reflecting off the thin layer of ice forming on the top of the pile of snow that gave me two days off in a row? I need it. Like air, like fucking water. Spring, my dear, sweet friend? How long until you grace us with your presence? And how many years until my budget can accommodate skis or snowshoes for the whole family? In the meantime, folks, keep your eyes peeled: snowclimbing! Wander off in the winter like an uninformed fool; end up with a challenge worthy of the winter Olympics!* It's the next big thing!*
*Okay, maybe not. On both counts. Hey, man, it's winter! We're broke! I don't have a hell of a lot to offer, and you're damn lucky I came up with snowclimbing. Count your blessings, and chill. Or try snowclimbing! What do you have to lose? (Dignity not included. Nor are any digits potentially lost to frostbite. Invitation to snowclimb purely hypothetical; all liability risks assumed by snowclimbee. Happy snowclimbing!)