We recently came back from crunching on a snowy and icy path. Yes, the city had decided to NOT shovel the city park (paved) paths, a cool wind blowing off the nearby river. The temperatures don’t go up by much, so it was a good thing I had decided to wear boots instead of sneakers, the way one woman did we passed. She pointed out to her boyfriend/husband (?)  that she’d already fallen once and was having a hard time moving across the snow with her low tennis shoes. So you need to plan before you go somewhere and walk in the snow.

But families should venture out into the snow or out in winter weather more. A fellow I knew from a small Appalachian town informed me once that they actually blocked off one of the main streets so that school-age kids could get out their sleds (or cardboard or whatever they had) so they could slide down the hill, a very STEEP hill, for fun! This was probably in the 1950s, before the internet and social media, when children did NOT have electronic gadgets their parents gladly handed them because they are so darn busy (with some encouragement from schools, as well). Just staring out the window would be novel for some at this point.

I’ve a friend who inadvertently, even with the snow of winter around him, followed the advice of famous naturalist Henry David Thoreau. In his unusual essay, “A Winter’s Walk,” Thoreau said he enjoyed tromping through the snow, indulging in shedding, out so long that icicles formed on his clothes (and no longer he got sick and died in his forties). Now, I would not RECOMMEND being out so long you are covered with icicles, but maybe half an hour or long enough to build a snowman? Yeah, but let’s cool it (get it?) on the icicles idea.

Like my friend in New York, you can bundle yourself up (though the so-called winter coats they sell now are ridiculous and should have a heavy sweater underneath them) and go for a brisk walk, even in temps in the 30s. Or go outside to make a fair-sized snowman, snowwoman, or snowcat. Or find a hill and some cardboard, lunch tray, or tire to slide down on. Go outside and have fun in the snow.

Sometimes it is inconvenient to go outside (especially in the bitter, bitter, wind whipping cold). Then you can, like I am doing now, watch the WINTER OLYMPICS on TV, Arthur the Aardvark (or some other cartoon character like Dora the Explorer). Or the too many Netflix movies out there to choose from (if you absolutely can’t go outside). Older or younger, we all benefit from being out in the winter (but do wear sunglasses or sunscreen, or both, if the sun is really beating down on the white stuff and causing a glare). Let’s go outside more.

Photo by D. J. Mathews

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