Friday, February 13, 2015

Kicking It

This year I decided to kick winter. Right in the snowballs.

It has (finally) become obvious that complaining about it, denying it, or remaining indoors because of it doesn’t change winter. That crap has gotten old and is making me feel prematurely old. It’s clearly time for a new approach.

Snow-filled winter 2014-2015 in central Massachusetts began with pre-Thanksgiving Day snowfall and the sideways slide of my Honda CRV off a steep driveway that felt like the marriage of an amusement park ride and a nightmare. The Thanksgiving hell ride illuminated the need for new tires, the purchase of which I was convinced would insure cancellation of all winter weather for the remainder of the season and possibly until said tires were bald. As an added precaution, I bought a new winter coat that would look lovely hanging in the closet during our cancelled winter.

The notion of my purchases killing winter is based on a lengthy track record. Items I like and TV shows I love are usually discontinued at a speed commensurate with my affection for them. Call it Puritan guilt, but I feel personally responsible for the demise of countless shows including “My So Called Life,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “Joan of Arcadia,”  “Chuck,” “Pushing Daisies,” as well as the entire AZN television network which shut down in 2008, four months after I discovered it. And y’all can thank me for ignoring your beloved “Sons of Anarchy” and “Walking Dead.”

Although the “tires and coat purchased to cancel winter” strategy failed and we’ve had about 897 feet of snow so far with another month to go before spring, I am not giving up (credit my Finnish stubbornness). Under a new approach modeled after the rapid retreat of boys I liked in high school and college, I’m chasing winter with open arms.

I have skied. I have viewed it as a workout and cheerfully shoveled, swept, and pushed snow more than times than I can count (and still fewer times than I could have). I even attended two outdoor winter festivals in the space of a few weeks, something I would have avoided in the past by barricading myself in the house under a quilt while whining “it’s too cold!”

At the first festival, which I managed to convince my sister, nieces, and friends to attend, I tossed a cross country ski boot (poorly) in a contest. Later the same afternoon, I participated in a Finnish-tradition wife carrying contest with a university exchange student introduced to me only minutes before the race. We finished second place, just one second behind the winning, long-married couple.  It was invigorating. All of it. The snow, the bonfire, the outdoor activities, the indoor dancing.

At the second festival, attended with my adventurous niece with whom I have climbed two mountains in warm weather, we snow shoed for the first time. Yes, it was cold, but once we were moving and on a trail sheltered by trees, it felt less so. Or maybe we were too focused on not falling over to think about the weather. We rewarded our efforts with New England Clam Chowder. And it was fun!

The snow shoe expedition was so successful, the following week was spent obsessively trolling the Internet in search of snow shoes. Success arrived in the form of an online retailer in Minnesota offering a package of two (new!) pairs of women’s snow shoes for less than the price of one pair elsewhere. This purchase will drive two possible outcomes -- either it will never snow in Massachusetts again, or I will have a new way in which to meet winter head on. On my terms and at my own leisure. Feels like a win-win to me. Take THAT, winter!

Originally published on February 10, 2015 on

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