A Walk in Winter.




A Walk …


It doesn’t feel cold, though of course it is. I am dressed appropriately. The sun sparkles, happy to see me; there are so few people for it to shine upon outside in this cold. It sparkles on the snow, here and there glittering the grey winter landscape.

At first I choose each step with care, not knowing how slippery the sidewalks may be, then I pick up speed and get up to a hearty jaunt. I try for some cardio so I need to walk at a good fast clip. The cars on the street seem slow, my pace apace with them as they slow for the traffic light.

I cross and head up the hill, past friends’ homes with their well-tended gardens now all withered and snow encrusted. Still, the textures are beautiful: sinewy vines twined on fences of wood and wrought iron with dried grey-brown leaves waving here and there, straight smooth stalks and dried blossoms of hydrangea thrust out of snow, red-hued bayberry all a-prickle. The holly leaves are still deep green and shiny, and periwinkle peeks out from pauses in the snow, ready for Spring anytime.

The first human I meet is familiar, as is his fox-terrier/rotweiler doggie. To myself I smile at the abbreviations that pop into my head: Foxrot (FoxtRot?), Ferrier, Fairweil, Ferrot. I smile and say hello as usual and he does the same. He is younger than I am, most likely, but I look young. (This is not the same as looking stunning, unfortunately). My sister thinks I am aging backwards–does that even make sense? We know what she means– but doesn’t it stand to reason that someone removed from stressful and difficult times and having instead: rest and relaxation, healthy food, fresh air and exercise, might look a tich better? Of course. Stress and sleeplessness alone are aging, it seems to me.

In the chill air it is easy to feel invigorated and able to walk forever. This feeling lasts precisely until the frigid air begins to chill nose, cheeks, then fingers and toes. It is then that one realizes: I have to walk all the way back home!

I am wearing layers of clothing as well as a beautiful hand-knit scarf, boots, a hat, and warm gloves, but the temperature is quite low and the breeze adds a windchill. I duck into a coffee shop for a few minutes of warmth.

I have never been a coffee drinker. More’s the pity, now that coffee is said to have curative or preventative powers. I drink tea. It is the token bit of English in me, perhaps, plus tea lends itself to my creativity. I add fresh herbs, lemon, spices such as ginger, cloves, cinnamon of course, tumeric because it is supposed to ward off some effects of aging (though I don’t like the taste much) and even cumin, which I like very much. It is one of my current fads, along with kale (as in sauteed ’til crisp in olive oil and seasoned, or in a stirfry with fresh ginger and a dash of tamari), and also leeks. Leeks are delicious in soups, this being soup weather as well as tea weather. I am good at soups for some reason and I like to have them on hand, they are so soothing.

After my green tea, I embark upon a different course home. The sun that had shone for me earlier is now on hiatus and the sky is winter-grey with thoughts of snow flurries. Down in front of me flutters… is it a stray snow flake? No, it is a small fluffy feather. So maybe it is actually down in front of me (ha, myself and I can be as punny as we wish when walking). The little feather floats from the sky, slowly this way and that in the bluster of the late afternoon. I see no little birdie. He must have been faster than his falling feather. Perhaps he is flying towards warmth somewhere.

Feathers always bring to mind my grandmother. She dressed well at all times and accessorized in mid-20th-century classic chic, at least so she now appears whenever she comes to mind. She wore hats, hence the feathers, and gloves, fitted suits, simple elegant pumps. Ash-blond hair perfectly coiffed. Lipstick always, and perfume. I used to love to stand at her dressing table as she chose her perfume. It wasn’t that she gave me a spritz of those French scents that most intrigued me, it was the collection of tiny but beautiful glass bottles with their elegant labels that caught my eye. She gave me one, once, when it was empty. Isn’t it strange the things that become our keepsakes?

I nearly keep the feather but in my head I hear my mother saying how germy bird feathers can be and it is flu season and I am careful, or too careful as the case may be. What has a bird feather to do with the flu? West Nile Virus? Is that active in the winter? Who knows.

In my mind, the white fluffy feather joins others on my grandma’s white hat. Feathers, fur… would she even wear those now? I think not. She’d wear other fashionable things, like my hat or my boots or my gloves. This is somehow a very satisfying thought: I have three pence of her fashion sense. However, less of that and I might now be slightly warmer. I might instead have chosen to wear my snow boots. Bulky, heavy. Good for trudging in the snow. I have those for when I am not on a city walk. Those make me think of the children’s book Owl Moon, if you know that story. Bundling, out in the woods, listening for owls under the moon. And mittens. I am wearing gloves not mittens. Mittens… doesn’t the word alone make you think of that wet-wool smell? I wear mittens when walking in the wilderness.

As I head back, I pass a young girl walking with her head down. She does not even look up as I pass and say hello. The cold must have frozen her ears, or she may be deep in thought. Young people are never the first to say hello, in my experience, but they are often the most enthusiastic in their replies, their smiles large and sincere. They are not yet jaded and are reassured by friendliness, or so is my theory. Sometimes older people are friendly too, don’t get me wrong. I try not to take the few compulsory and cool replies personally. How sad is that, to be unable to smile, or, worse, to choose not to smile at friendly passersby? Well you can think about this when next you are out walking. If you are in conversation with someone or on your cell phone, I will not disturb you, don’t worry, but otherwise I’ll likely greet you, so be nice!

A few tangents later and home again, home again, riggety jig. What is that from, anyway? Oh it’s jiggety jig. Mother Goose. To Market to Market… so there is your Random Trivia from my uneventful but refreshing winter walk.

Cheers to you! Stay warm and happy, wherever you may be this weekend!

~ Lily



21 Comments on “A Walk in Winter.”

  1. andy1076 says:

    That is so true about people who don’t seem to say hello, I always do because It is my belief that sometimes it is all someone needs to say to make a difference in someone’s day. It really is a shame, isn’t it? It’s awesome having a moment of reflection on a winter walk huh 🙂

    • lily says:

      Hi Andy. Well actually I had about two hours of reflection on my walk. (I take long walks.) That is, until my brain started freezing! Just kidding. Yes, it is wonderful to walk and think and to look at all the beauty around us. I love being able to do that.
      I have had the beautiful music from your site in my head ever since I’ve heard it. Sooo pretty, though melancholy. Thank you again for that.
      Thank you for stopping by, and reading, especially this very long post.
      Wishing you happiness,
      ~ Lily

      • andy1076 says:

        I often do my reflection on my runs at around 3 in the morning. Just before the world wakes, this is the best time because it’s so peaceful.

        I’m so glad you enjoyed the music, I have it on my phone now and every time I listen to this gifted composer I am inspired to write another piece. It really is amazing what music can do 🙂

        Hope you will be writing another post of your reflecitons, I enjoyed it a lot 🙂

        • lily says:

          Aside from the facts that it might be difficult to wake me at 3 a.m. and that for me it probably would not be all that Safe to be outside alone at that hour, it would be lovely to run through empty streets in the quiet and stillness. I am *slightly* envious, Andy : )

          I’m glad that you liked the reflections. Thank you!

          ~ Lily

  2. janinevasta says:

    You delight Lily! Have a most wonderful weekend. I will be walking too shortly. But in shorts! How funny. jx

  3. I enjoyed this, Lily, specially since you are such a private person! (just kidding) have a nice weekend.

    • lily says:

      Haha. Yes, I did contemplate whether to divulge my quirky eating habits and preferences; no doubt I can be identified by those alone. : )
      Thank you for reading this tome, Thomas. It’s always nice to have you stopping by.
      ~ Lily

  4. free penny press says:

    Thank you for taking us along on your “chilly, wintery” jaunt. It is in fact very good for us on many levels to get out walk, see what is going in in the world around us.
    Sorry Lily, i am an avid coffee fan (thank goodness because New Orleans is famous for it’s rich, dark coffee’s) 😉
    very much enjoyed reading this…take us along on your next excursion and have a most wonderful weekend!

    • lily says:

      No need to apologize, nearly everyone whom I know drinks coffee. The closest I get is warm milk with a dash of coffee– I think it’s a reverse latte.
      I love to walk, Lynne. It is my preferred mode of transportation as well as my preferred method of exercise, though I travel and workout in other ways too, of course. It is a rare day without a walk in my world. I can walk endlessly. I had long walks to school in my youth, and then long walks and hikes in fields and forests. I love to travel to places where I can walk all over city, town, or country : )
      Thank you and wonderful weekend to you, too! I’m glad you liked this.
      ~ Lily

  5. It was wonderful to accompany you on your nice, long walk, Lily! So many of the same thoughts pass through my mind when I’m walking alone.

    P.S.: Lovely image of snow, so similar to some I took while walking this afternoon!

    • lily says:

      I am glad that you enjoyed our walk : )

      My mind wanders all over when I walk, as if freed by being out in the fresh air for hours. But I do hope that since you are able to vicariously walk with me, you are staying warm and cozy in that windy city of yours!

      ~ Lily

  6. It’s amazing all the thoughts that cross our minds while walking and you did a great job putting those thoughts into words, Lily. xx

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