Monday, February 4, 2013

My Single Love of Winter

I love shoveling fluffy white snow. My relationship with winter is made on this very notion. It is the one reason I never resist winter.

Shoveling fluffy white snow.

For people who know me well, I'm certain this comes as a huge surprise. I'm not a big fan of the out of doors. Any opportunity NOT to go outside is a good one. Blame it on growing up in Chicagoland. Blame it on being forced to do yard work as child.

Doesn't matter what you blame it on - I am not a big outdoors girl. Until it snows and my driveway and corner lot needs to be cleared. Especially fluffy, light snow. You can't keep me from shoveling it. Here are the three reasons why:

Winter Exercise

Even though I don't like it outdoors, the last few years have found me running outside for about 9 months every year. I like running outside much better than doing it on a treadmill. So from March to November, you can find me running my neighborhood. Shoveling white fluffy snow is a chance for me to get in exercise at a time of year when I most likely am not running regularly. This is especially a treat now - two years post-radial tunnel release surgery in my right arm. There was a time when I did not think I'd shovel again so I am grateful to push my new ergonomic shovel.

Individual Sport

Shoveling alone in the early morning hours is bliss and reminds me of my days of playing tennis. I used to rise early and go over to the Kmart by my house and hit balls against the wall for hours at a time. Shoveling is very much an individual sport. You don't need anyone to do it. It plays to my strengths of relying only on myself for certain things. If I am "losing" the battle to falling snow, I am forced to recalibrate my work, my technique or even take a break and come back when it is done snowing.

Lovely Rhythm

When I shovel, the very sound of my action actually soothes me. You see, I lead a very, hectic and unpredictable life. Shoveling provides a rhythm that I rarely get as I don't like monotony very much. The repetitive moves and sounds make me be present and listen.  Listen to the movement. Pace my breathing to match it. Reminds me of running but from a whole different perspective. The sound echoing the neighborhood keeps me from wandering off to my next to do list or frantic motherly worry. It numbs me into being 100% present in the action of shoveling and I need that ever so often

I had to shovel TWICE in the last 72 hours and it was just what I needed at this time in my life. I am already wondering what I'm gonna do to replicate this in the near future when we split time between Spain and Chicago and I live in a fancy high rise downtown.

What activity should replace my annual snow shoveling ritual?

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