Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I used to think January had to be a slow time. Not much going on. Hibernate. Curl up on the sofa with the books I started in the middle of a rainy summer day, then put back on the shelf when the skies cleared. And stayed clear. Not this year.

Recently a friend commented on how quickly her home-office desk got cluttered this winter. 'Didn't you just clean it?' someone asked. But I understood what was happening. Because the same thing happens to my desk. When the conditions are good to be outdoors, the desk receives but gives up nothing. The cycling clothes and base layers pile up in the laundry basket while the wool hangs to dry before the next wearing.

I measure my contentment in loads of polypro laundry and the menagerie of boots and gloves hurriedly stashed on the shelves by the front door: cycling boots, ski boots, hiking boots and Uggs. Liner gloves, wind gloves, woolen mittens, insulated mittens. Neck gaitors of varying weights, ear bands and hats.

Above Anchorage in Chugach State Park.
(Yes, you should have a permit to bike this trail in the winter.)

In my datebook, I jot down: 'bike ride with Jon,' or 'ski with Jo-Ann.' 'Pilates @ 11.' Snowshoe or hike. I include trailheads and routes, temperatures and equipment, time of day. The spaces fill with outings and events: movies, the Folk Fest, fundraisers, writing group, planning meetings, dinner with my sister.

This is what a winter of good health and no injuries looks like: Like summer, but with more layers and no mud, bugs or bears.

This Saturday and next, I'll participate in a writing workshop. In the past when I've attended classes or workshops, I've searched for focus, dug for meaning. Now, the focus comes to me in bursts of inspiration, fueled by cold winter air.

Years ago, before I moved to Alaska, a friend said that if I told the world what I wanted, I would get it. This winter, I told the world nothing and somehow it found me: a convergence of ideas and energy and hopefulness. I want to tell the world, 'don't take it away!'


sakura hasegawa said...

This entry is very interesting. I used to bike a lot - everyday actually. Then I got busy with work and so I had to cut it down to every weekend but reading your blog made me miss doing it everyday. Thanks for posting. :)

Anonymous said...

Winter air is an excellent fuel source! There's something about getting out in it, scrambling above the clouds/inversion, and just inhaling....

bikegirl said...

The more often I ride, the happier I am. If I'm inactive for too long, I forget the simple joy of being out there.
And you're right, there's nothing like getting up above the clouds into the sun.