The Grayness of the Day

I woke up this morning to 6″ of fresh snow. This was quite a change from the bare grass which was uncovered after the previous snow had melted. The temperatures, more seasonable this morning approached 16 degrees. The bitter cold stinging my face. I pull the face mask up a little bit higher and lean forward as I make my way through the newly fallen snow. My thoughts drift to the previous days run when the pavement was dry, snow was absent from the landscape and the temperature was 40-degrees, a far cry from the temperatures this morning.

There are times during every winter where I seem to drift like the snow through the gray of winter. There is little desire to run and often traveling to work to listen to the problems of others is also a struggle. I move slowly through the morning envious of those individuals in warmer climates who are not shoveling snow. There is an argument in my brain, so I rise, dress and go for a run or do I stay in bed for another hour? My inner groundhog insists there are 6-more weeks of winter. It is often the run which wins as I remind myself how I feel when I have laced up the running shoes, turned on the headlamp and head out the door.

winter running

My spirit needs light. It is this light for which I long and for which my spirit longs. I exit my house and make my way to the car for the drive to the office. The sky, a blanket of gray which does not seem to go away and which seems endless as it stretches the length of the horizon.

The end of the day arrives. I exit my office and am happy the sun when we see it in this hemisphere, makes itself present. I know longer days are coming and with it increasing warmth and more sun


3:00 AM

It’s 3:00 a.m. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been up since going to bed.

As I strip down to my boxers, I remove my shirt and instantly I begin to shake. Normally, the temperatures during winter do not bother me, but when I am sick my body responds very differently.

I jump into bed and pull blankets up to my chin in the hopes I can scare away the chill. The chill went away but the aches in my legs remain. I think about getting off to walk to the kitchen to get more Advil and quickly the thought gets pushed to the side. Another 30 minutes and the pain in my legs wins out. I rise, throw on a sweatshirt and run to the kitchen to grab a couple of Advil. I run back upstairs in the hopes that my body temperature will rise enough when I jump back in bed that any chills will not be present.

I feel like crap.  The common cold simply sucks.

It’s funny the thoughts that come into your head when you wake at 3:00 a.m. after four hours of sleep.

“Fuck I feel bad.”

“My head hurts.”

“I need more Advil.”

“I need chicken soup.”

Advil has done its job. I rose to shower and get ready to go to work. Breakfast was eaten simply to provide fuel for my body. There was no taste. Coffee is brewed, the smell which I can barely make out. Advil did the trick and the physical pain has been reduced to something which is almost nonexistent. My physical health now partially restored with hope the remainder of the day will bring more of the same.

I rose to shower and get ready to take on the day. Breakfast was eaten simply to provide fuel for my body. There was no taste. Coffee is brewed, the smell which I can barely make out. Advil did the trick and the physical pain has been reduced to something which is almost nonexistent. My physical health now partially restored with hope the remainder of the day will bring more of the same.

Breakfast was eaten simply to provide fuel for my body. There was no taste. Coffee is brewed, the smell which I can barely make out. Advil did the trick and the physical pain has been reduced to something which is almost nonexistent. My physical health now partially restored with hope the remainder of the day will bring more of the same.

There is knowledge which I find in illness. It is there for all of us to see if we choose. I will spend this day relaxing, writing and reading. Taking time for myself when so much is given to others.


Sitting outside…

With palms together, I wish you all a good evening.
I sat outside enjoying the beautiful weather wearing a lightweight jacket for additional warmth. My accompaniment was my journal and one of my favorite fountain pens. It is easy for me to get lost in the solitude offered by sitting outside.
All of the trees visible on my street are now void of their leaves save for the few hangers on who have forgotten the seasons have changed and fall is firmly upon us. Or, perhaps they are more like myself and have little desire to be in agreement with the calendar. and wish for longer days and sunshine to remain for a period of time beyond what is dictated in this portion of the country. Letting go for me is not an agreeable option.
The sky is overcast. The sun even at this relatively early hour of 4:20 PM remains visible in the western sky, sinking closer to its nightly hiding place behind the horizon.
I, like the leaves who refuse to leave their comfortable perch, have decided to go against the rule, the social convention, the norm which is accepted by sitting outside and enjoying “what is left of the decent weather” before the winter winds begin to blow bringing with them the arctic chill and much-dreaded snow.
Jack, my faithful companion stands in front of me refusing to sit. Perhaps his reluctance is a result of the cold, damp ground which grows colder as winter marches forward. His head is tilted back, his nose piercing the air, smelling smells which I cannot smell, those scents pushed here and there by the steadily increasing wind.
The sun continues its dip toward the horizon, shadows lengthening…

Forced hibernation…

With palms together, I wish you all a good evening.
It’s almost time…
When you live in the Northeast you don’t need a weather report to understand winter is around the corner; accepting the fact that winter is around the corner is something altogether different. It’s almost time to hibernate. There are those times and this week is forecast to be one of those times where winter plays hide and seek with fall. The temperatures forecast for the week are expected to be in the high sixties; unseasonably warm for this time of year.
Halloween has past. The trees are almost completely bare of their wondrous cover which has been shed after changing to brilliant colors not usually seen in nature. A glance up to the branches overhead identifies a few stragglers holding on in the hope winter will not arrive and the cooler temperatures are in some way a joke. Piles of leaves adorn the front yards of neighboring homes being blown about by the wind which is an almost constant companion this time of year. In addition to the change in clothing, lawnmowers are put away and exchanged for snow shovels and snow throwers. Leaf blowers and rakes are seen and heard throughout the neighborhood. I prefer the latter as they allow for less disturbance and allow me to maintain some semblance of solitude.
For me, the most difficult part of this transition is the change to daylight savings time.
I wouldn’t actually refer to this period as “hibernation”, that period of time from late October through April and sometimes the end of April as “forced.” Many people make a choice to remain indoors and wait out the long cold months to follow. This time of year is unique, not simply for the obvious. Three years ago, while having lunch at a nearby rooftop restaurant, my daughter remarked how we in the Northeast have just a few precious months in which to enjoy the activities enjoyed year round in warmer climates. As depressing as this may be, I see the seasonal changes as an opportunity to slow, become increasingly introspective and enjoy the changes which are brought by fall and winter.
slow down
The temperature outside is 56-degrees yet I sit outside and write. My accompaniment is a fine cigar and a glass of whiskey. The decision to sit outside was a relatively easy one. The sun plays hide and seek behind the cover of clouds. The dull yellow rays play with one’s memory, a memory of the warmer rays of summer sun. These rays do not warm the body but do offer warmth to the soul. A light breeze plays with the leaves, moving them to and fro across the driveway. Those leaves whose time has come and from which all moisture has gone skate across the driveway propelled by an invisible force and sound as though they are skating across invisible ice. I sit outside and type I am wearing a knit hat and fingerless gloves.  Jeans, sweaters, wool hats, and fleece have replaced shorts, sandals and t-shirts as the dress of choice.
My soul belongs outside. Outside is where we were meant to be.There are many things which I enjoy about Fall. The lack of warmth is not one of them. The sounds and sights which, in the Northeast are seen and heard at only this time of year. A friend who resides just 90-minutes to the south of my location has already received several inches of snow. The snow which has fallen on Whiteface Mountain giving proof to it’s name as it is one of the first peaks in the majestic Adirondack Park to receive snow.
There are things I enjoy about the coming winter months, things which I have forced myself to like and even come to enjoy as location, at least for the foreseeable future, is my home. When the snow accumulates to the amount it makes sense to don a small backpack and snowshoes, the beauty and silence afforded one who seeks both of these things is amazing in its restorative powers.
Go outside and explore. One does not need to  travel far to see the hidden treasures which are often closely held secrets within the outdoors; one simply needs to go outside and open one’s eyes. Once open, one needs to see, without judgment the beauty which surrounds us and for me and others like me brings a level of happiness which cannot be found indoors.

Ah January…

This is the month when I struggle the most. Despite this knowledge and what I call above average preparation, it still seems to sneak up on me.
I woke this morning to the sound of my alarm. I showered and went to the chiropractor. One of two private patients attended their appointment and I went to Tim Hortons for coffee with Scrooge. Then a trip to have an oil change and a tire rotation.
I sat in the waiting room waiting for my car to be complete, I feel tired, like my head is in the clouds. Sitting in waiting for my car to be done, I think only of going home and taking a nap. I gave out the window in disappointment; the skies are thick and grey, snow is falling and I’m already beginning to think of my busy schedule next week. An app is definitely in order with some TV, a glass of wine and my Kindle.
The maintenance to my car is complete. I know this because the salesman said he has called my name several times. I pay for the work, get into in my car and drive home. The roads are slippery with a new coating of new snow. The sadness I felt as I drove increasing as I approached home. Much as a horse sensing the nearby stable begins to pick up its gate in anticipation of reaching home and solitude.
When I reach the safety of my driveway and back my car into it’s space, I remove my jacket and place it on its hook next to my office. I retreated to my bedroom, turn on the TV and pull out the pile of mail which has been haunting me throughout the week. This is a daunting task which I attempt to put off once again so I close my eyes for a few minutes but neither sleep nor the drowsy state before sleep find me.
The day progressed and darkness descended. Surprisingly, my mood began to lift. Darkness for me during this time of year becomes something of a friend. It allows me not to see the grey skies with their low-hanging clouds. The same clouds which form an impenetrable barrier against the Sun and blankets the northeast for much of the winter that even the briefest appearances of the Sun are cause for celebration.

As pen touches paper, my thoughts pour from the nib much like the rain which is falling outside. The weather forecast is predicting 4 to 8 inches of new snow beginning Tuesday night. With this news sadness begins to find me once again. I reach for my fountain pen and write in my journal in the attempt to relieve the stress which has been building.

I hope that through the night the rain will cease, my alarm will gently wake me and I can sleep on my running shoes and allow the solitude of a long run to bring back the balance in my life.
This next week will be a week away from running. After forcing a run “to get in more miles” I hurt something in my right leg. I will also use this time to relax and write and allow the remainder of the winter to wash over me like the cold winds which blow over the snow.

A spring snow…

The night was restful.

The wind stopped blowing sometime during the night, the rhythmic sound which helped lull me to sleep now absent.

The vague appearance of sunlight as it filtered through the still closed blinds.

I turned on the radio and listened to the weatherman announce the temperature. 34-degrees.

I stood hesitantly and with cautious fingers I parted the still closed blinds. My eyes fixated on the white tint covering the lawn…it had snowed last night, just enough to ensure we recall Mother Nature’s influence in our lives.

Did I mention it is April 20th?



Broken Silence

I woke this morning to what I have come to call an “Adirondack morning.”

The temperature was three-degrees. Six-inches of new snow had fallen lightly throughout the night. It was a light, dry snow; one that coated everything which it touched.

Outside, as I stood looking toward the east, I watched and waited for the sun to rise. At first the edge of the horizon was painted with dull reds and purples. As my anticipation rose, so did the sun. The colors began to change and now included orange and yellow; their intensity growing. The same colors painted the tips of the trees. As the sun continued its upward crawl the intensifying colors began to drip downward now coloring the length of those same trees. The crystals of snow covering nearby branches glistened like diamonds; the entire area now bathed in the warm glow of the rising sun.

Minutes later, as the sun continued its climb, as if on cue, clouds began to change the color of the sky from blue to grey. The warm colors receding as if they had been washed away like a gentle rain were now being replaced by a blanket of grey. As the clouds continued their growth, the diamonds on the surface of the snow began to lose its luster and now appeared to be just a blanket of white covering everything.

As time continued to pass, I returned to my duties of clearing the walk. The sound of my snow shovel scraping the ground the only other noise to be heard. As I rejoiced in the rhythmic sound made by the shovel, the silence was broken by the roar of a snow thrower coming to life. As that unwelcome sound increased, my desire to retreat back into my house also increased; needing to escape the previous tranquility.