Surrender Winter

Having survived a couple of atypically stressful days of bike commuting, I was looking forward to doing some errands by bike today. Mother nature was not on board.

Shortly after waking, I did my 45 minute yoga routine (doctor’s orders) and 15 minutes of less than fruitful meditation. Yoga and meditation are supposed to go hand in hand but I spend so much effort concentrating on my form and my breathing while doing yoga that I have nothing left for the sedentary portion of the program.

I am getting a bit better at balancing which is not saying a whole lot. My routine ends with one pose that involves sitting on your lower legs and leaning back. This is supposed to lead to the reclining warrior pose. The reclining warrior involves leaning all the way back until your head and shoulders rest on the floor. Very relaxing. That is of course if you don’t have bicycle quads and bad knees. I am lucky if I can get to a 45 degree angle before my knees start chanting, “Fuck yoga, Fuck you.” Be one with your cartilage is my mantra.

Suffice it to say, I do only as much as I can. The can’t poses all involved stressing the quads or doing a headstand. It still amazes me that at one time in my life I could actually do a free standing head stand. It is also true that at one time in my life I drank heavily. Coincidence? I think not.

Having endured my weekly self abuse session, I decided that the howling wind and 23 degree temperature was not bike friendly. I drove to Huntley Meadows Park for a walk in the woods. Please don’t tell anyone but Huntley Meadows is an oasis of calm in a sea of suburban ick. A trail through the park makes something of a figure eight. About 1/3 of the trail is a boardwalk out into a wetland.

As a kid I spent many a summer day on Dead Man’s Pond in Albany. Big sections of tree trunks made for awesome rafts that we would pole across the scum-covered water. To my nine year old eyes, Dead Man’s was enormous. In reality, it was probably smaller than an acre in size. Not true of the wetlands at Huntley Meadows.

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The recent decision to allow beavers to do their thing has greatly expanded the wetlands. Only a few years ago, the swamp would drain completely during parts of the year. Now the waters go well into what was once woodland. Beaver lodges are all over the place. I think the most interesting thing about the wetlands is that it never looks the same from visit to visit. Today it was iced over. A couple of times my weight on the boardwalk put stress on the ice and it made a surreal creaking sound. The wind kept my time on the boardwalk to a minimum. Thankfully, only a few other people were in the park. Once I made it back into the woods all I could hear was the sound of the wind, the groaning the trees, and the occasional chirp of a chickadee.

I did two laps through the park, warming as I went. On my final circuit a couple with three young boys stopped and pointed into the woods. A small deer was about 100 yards away munching something on the ground.

I drove home and figured the animal portion of the day was over. As I pulled into the driveway, I spotted six robins bounding on my front lawn. An hour later, Mrs. Rootchopper, camera in hand, woke me from a brief nap. A fox was hanging out in the backyard. It’s the first fox sighting we’ve had since last spring.

Spring. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Surrender winter.

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