Saturday, January 30, 2016

The week of the rough walk

Perhaps I tempted the fates when I recently wrote about my disappointments with ice and snow. Perhaps the trickster god of ice heard me and took petty vengeance, enlisting as it went the help of the usually sleepy and fluffy god of snow. I don't know, but it was a rough week for me out on the sidewalks of Minneapolis.

On Monday I stepped out onto the sidewalk in a freezing drizzle to find it skating rink slick. I was just saying here in this (metaphorical) space that when I grew up in Southern California I imagined in the Winter that one could skate along the sidewalks of Minnesota. So it was hard not to imagine that I was being mocked with the sudden appearance of rigorously iced sidewalks, though I doubt skates would have worked on those walks because the layer of ice was so invisible and thin that a skate would have sliced through it to the concrete below. My boots, however, were easily supported by this layer of ice, though, of course, not given the barest shred of traction. And so I walked four miles with a fierce, stiff-legged concentration, straining to keep the required perfect balance, and only flailing into near death experiences a half dozen times.

Then on Tuesday came the snow. I have no terrible complaint about walking in an inch or two of new snow, though it is hard work, much like walking in sand. No, what I hate, alas, is snow blowing in my face. And for an hour and fifteen minutes that's exactly what it did. No looking up for me. I must keep my chin tucked at all times, my eyes protected and blind to the world. Mainly my nose takes on the great brunt of elements, fielding all the many blowing bits of snowflake and ice. This makes my nose itch terribly so I have to wipe my scratching nose with my sleeve every twenty seconds.

Who knows what mocking disaster is next for me out walking my daily four miles of city, but I am duly chastened and will now attempt to appease the small god of ice with flattery:

Oh wonderful ice god, thank you for your humorous gift of ice. What a clever trick with water! While I recognize its jewel-like beauty, I love it best to cool drinks, especially, these days, cocktails, which I will drink in your honor. Please don't kill me. Please don't break any of my limbs. And do say hello for me to your good friend the god of snow.

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