Sunday, January 30, 2011

Off to a striding start in 2011

It is the middle of winter.  My favorite. The past two Sundays emphasized for me how much I love the beauty of the North and the snow and the cold. Last Sunday, I found myself in Hayward, Wisconsin which is farther north than I am now and from where I grew up.  As I loaded the car to depart, it was 22 below zero.  The landscape was beautiful.  Still, incredibly cold, blues and pinks washing the sky. It was fantastic. It was silent and I wanted to bask in it longer.
This morning, here in Green Bay, it was 7 degrees and still.  The sun was just coming up into a clear sky and I needed to be out in that world.  I took Rosie for a walk into that cold still air and the world was perfect.  We had a fresh snowfall a day ago, and the snow still hung on the trees, sparkling.  It felt so natural, walking through the woods with my dog at 7 a.m. on a very cold winter morning, that I wondered how much of my compulsion to go on that walk was instinct.  I really sensed it is in my cells, that love of the winter morning and the joy in being in nature, cold and so quiet, with the company of a canine.  On this morning's walk, we encountered two chickadees who lit onto some brush above our heads as Rosie ducked into the growth on the side of trail to check things out.  I always feel the company of my Aunt Jean when a chickadee shows up, and it made me smile to think that her spirit might be with us as we carried on the Dawson legacy during our hike. 

While no Scandinavians have showed up on my family tree, I also love to cross country ski.  This season, my training partner and I are skiing a different technique in our training outings. Classic skiing is probably most familiar to folks as it is the kind of skiing everybody learns on.  We have gone back to classic training to complete our races this year, and it has been a fun switch.  Also known as striding, classic skiing is slower than skating but a bit less physically demanding.  Last week, we did our first event, a 42 km "tour" (untimed race) on the Birkie Course and were pretty happy with our 5+ hour result.

Next up, the Badger State Games.