The first walk in a new season. It isn’t quite spring, but neither is it glacial. To step out without watching my feet and tensing for an inevitable tumble onto unforgiving ice – I can almost fly.
Winter where I live is always cold. The only question is only how far the mercury will fall. This winter was mild, relatively; the average maximum temperatures for January to February in 2016 were -3.6 to +4.8C/25.5 to 40F, instead of our normal -6 to -2.5C/21 to 27.5F. But the problem with daytime highs of just above freezing is that they’re enough to soften snow, not melt it, and at night everything freezes solid again. In the morning you begin again.
Val Marie is too small to have snow clearing; we have snow packing by trucks. With the long melt in progress our streets looked like frozen rivers most of the time. They were rippling and slippery and as treacherous as…well, ice. For most of February I barely left the house except to get in my car. And even with all that caution, I still managed one really scary fall.
But eventually the sun shone and the wind blew, enough so the ice left us, and I’m walking again. This is the old PFRA irrigation dike, with canal on one side and Frenchman River on the other. The river is both frozen and open, and even though it isn’t quite flowing, I am. Brown hills open in front of me, offering space and time.
When you walk in freedom again after a spell of constriction, it doesn’t matter that the constriction was minor and probably mainly imaginary. Unless we’re physically imprisoned or infirm, or living in extreme poverty, constriction is probably mostly mainly imaginary. What matters is that we believe it’s real. Or we don’t.
In this first walk of a new season, I’m willing to let imagination be freedom, not restraint.
How are you moving into a new season? What constriction will you let go?
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