I try to keep my promises, especially those I make to myself. This morning I made a tough decision. I planned to restart my daily walks after my winter hibernation, and I had promised to walk for four out of the seven days this week. Monday, it snowed. Tuesday, the sidewalks were treacherous, and the temperatures were frigid. Wednesday was warmer, so I walked, and my muscles informed me of their whole-hearted displeasure with the day’s activity. They demanded a day of rest. Mother Nature had other plans.
The forecast called for more snow on Friday. A high temperature of 27 degrees on Saturday meant it was unlikely any of Friday’s snowfall would melt. If I marked Friday and Saturday off my schedule, I would not make my four-day goal. Time to suck it up, Buttercup.
I donned my winter weather walking attire consisting of thick pants, heavy woolen socks, and my favorite walking shoes, followed by a cotton T-shirt, a wool base layer, and a hoodie. Gloves, a ball cap, sunglasses, and the all-important earbuds for my mandatory playlist, completed my stylish ensemble. My phone registered the current temperature at a breath-stealing 24 degrees.
Was I really doing this?
I opened the door and stepped outside. Yep, I’m doing this. It won’t be that bad.
2:30 minutes. It’s freezing out here, and if I were smart, I would turn around and go home. But it’s going to snow tomorrow, so I pulled my hood up over my ball cap and kept walking.
5:10 minutes. I turned the corner and prepared for the blast of wind I’ve come to expect on this leg of the route, but today it didn’t come. There was no wind today — a small blessing.
7:00 minutes. My playlist isn’t playing, and I continue walking as I fiddle with my phone. In my distraction, I blow past a turn and my opportunity to walk only one mile instead of two and a half.
10:00 minutes. The cold is uncomfortable, but I know it won’t last. “You could still turn back and take the shorter route.” The devil’s voice tempts me, but the lyrics in my ears whine with an answer. “There are so many reasons to quit.” My footstep hit the pavement with the beat of the music.
15:00 minutes. The sweating has commenced. The cold is not as noticeable now, but I know better than to start de-layering. No matter how hot I am, this temperature can do a number on unprotected skin, and I stay the course.
25:00 minutes. I’m dying. Who thought this was a good idea? But I am at the halfway mark, and there is no turning back. The only way is forward. I lean into the defiant lyrics. “I am the walking dead. Zombified.” Getting home might be a million miles away, and there is no way I’m going to make it. I kept putting one foot in front of the other, and I picked up the pace so I would get home sooner.
“There’s a battle to survive. I’ve got my eyes on the golden prize.”
“You’re not breaking me down; I won’t let you win.”
I don’t meet any other walkers today.
“I’m not crazy. I’m just a little unwell. I know you can’t tell.”
The sane people are at home, or they are whizzing past me at 50 MPH in their climate-controlled cars.
It would be nice not to feel sweaty and cold at the same time.
“Cold enough to chill my bones. I can’t take the in-between.”
I turn the corner, and home is only half a block away.
“Hell couldn’t hold me… I’m back from the dead alive.”
I know Future Me, with thank me for today’s effort. It seems there are many similarities between walking and writing. It always feels better when you’ve finished.
Did you write yesterday? Are you writing today?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer