March 02, 2021

It is cold, but at least it is plowed. In Marlborough anyway.


Attachment is the source of all suffering.



It snowed a few days ago, not much, only about 3 inches or so.  And then it got really cold, down to -13℉ with windchill.  I don’t own a pair of long underwear, but when it gets that cold, I do increase the number of layers.  T-shirt, shirt, fleece jacket and down jacket and gloves for the hands, are my standard go-to dress when it gets really cold like this.  My legs usually don’t get that cold, but I add rain pants over them that keeps the heat in just enough that I don’t get a cold rash on my legs when the temps go below 10℉.  The cold doesn’t seem to bother Waldo in his sable birthday suit, although I do keep a close eye on him to see that he doesn’t exhibit behavior that would suggest he’s cold.  The only such behavior I’ve ever noticed is that when it gets below zero and he’s walking on ice, his feet get cold and he’ll lay down and lick his paws.  When this happens, we go home.

Today, I’m waiting for the hottest hours which are after noon.  I momentarily toy with the idea to take the day off because of the cold, then I look at Waldo and those thoughts are gone.  He needs to get out.  Subconsciously, I brace for icy air on my face, cold that penetrates my fingers until they hurt, and the fear that I will be miserable.  I take a deep breath, a decision is made, and just like that, the fear goes away.  I put the leash on Waldo and we hit the rail-trail.

We start out and I can feel the cold.  It bites my nose and cheeks and gnaws at my fingers through my gloves.  I’m dressed heavily enough that the rest of me is quite warm.  When the wind blows, the skin on my exposed forehead starts to ache.  I pull my neck gaiter up to cover my lower jaw and chin, which helps that part of my face, and carry on.  Waldo, he hits the snow at a trot and snuffs around in the stuff.  Soon, somehow, he’s found a stick and he’s prancing down the trail, tail held high, waving that stick back and forth with pride of ownership.

After the first half-mile, I settle into my pace, one foot going in front of the other with an automaticity that requires no thought.  I settle into the sensation of having part of my body feel like it’s going to grow icicles where there shouldn’t had oughta be any, knowing full well from past experience that I am in no real danger, and I relax.  The mild pain in the parts of my face that are freezing just becomes another sensation like any other sensation, like the firmness of the ground that I walk on.  I rotate the leash from hand to hand as my fingers start to ache, putting the idle one in my coat pocket to warm it up.  This all becomes routine as well and I am soon opening myself to my wintery gestalt.

The air is clean and fresh, almost odorless.  I feel its icy tendrils probe at the insides of my nose, only to be warmed and integrated comfortably with the air in my lungs.  I see the white pines dotted along our route that give a pale green tinge to the otherwise white and tan palette of winter.  It is so quiet out here, there’s not even the sound of wind sifting through the leaves that abound in other seasons.  No constant buzz of insects, and any animals, including birds, that are around must be snuggling in their respective nests because they are making no noise.  No whistling, no chattering, no squawking, nothing.  I wonder of they’re peeking out of their doorways watching the icy day that I’m a part of.

And then it occurs to me.  The anticipation of coming out here is so much worse than being here.  Like so many things, the thinking of doing a thing is often so much worse than the actual doing of it.  My hanging onto the desire for warm comfort caused me to resist going for a walk in the cold.  My fear of being miserable put barriers up in my mind to getting out here.  But, once being here, I relax my grip on those things and just melt into the moment, tasting whatever happens without judgment.  And I am quite comfortable, I have no fear, it is, in fact, enjoyable.  How we torture ourselves, grasping for things that are not real.

Waldo, he just prances along, pleasuring in what he can find where he can find it.


Come on! It’s only snow!

Leave a Reply