Into the White

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Into the White

I once played in a pee-wee hockey league.

When I say “once”, I mean it literally. No sooner was I on the ice for the first time in my first game, I was called for a penalty. Seems that I wasn’t wearing the required equipment. I was missing the pads, helmet and gloves of a normal hockey player, even a 7-year-old one. Err, I have a couple of questions regarding this odd event: Why did my mother send me to the Town of Mount Royal rec with only skates? And: why did my coach let me on the ice without the proper hockey equipment on?

I sat in the penalty box, humiliated, and watched the action in front of me in a daze. I was so young; how was I to know what I had to wear?

Today, in preparing to go out in a blizzard, I was properly prepared. I slowly gathered my gear, feeling a bit like a medieval knight as he arranged the various layers of his suit of armor: long johns, cross-country ski pants, fleece and The North Face winter coat, my Merrell Polartec winter coat, winter hat and ready-for-minus-20° winter gloves. Under my hat were my new headphones attached to my IPod.

I was ready! No penalty box for me!

Why I was so eager to go for a walk in a blazing blizzard is a bit of a mystery. While I love walking in the big city, even in the depths of winter or the dark of night, I am loathe to walk in the country. It was different story when I had my dog. Although Rocket was a bit of rogue dog, running into the forest for minutes on end whenever he sniffed a scent of deer, he was still good company and helped ward off whatever it is that I don’t really enjoy too much walking in the countryside around my house, four kilometres or so from the small village of Dunham, Quebec.

This must sound strange because I’m a hiker and love being in the woods. Maybe familiarity breeds contempt.

But this morning, looking out and seeing the snowflakes rush down, I was enthusiastic to be outside. There is something special about being in precipitation. Walking in the rain can be that way too, as long as you’re well protected from getting too wet.

I chose a road close to our own to stay away from potential traffic. It was still unplowed so I walked in the tire tracks to make it easier, though the snow was so fluffy and light one could easily walk through this as well.

I got into it. If it wasn’t the music on my IPod, it was the reminder to be in the moment. I love the lyrics of This Moment by The Incredible String Band: This moment is different from any before it and this moment is different it’s now.

I could get into the physicality of the exercise; after all, I was wearing many pounds worth of clothing. This, and the hilly road and snow that I had to slog through, all made the walk fairly cardiovascular.

There wasn’t much to notice (my glasses were getting coated with snow anyway). Over there was one of the road’s residents shoveling his way out of his driveway causing me wonder why, of all my neighbours, he didn’t contract snow removal from his large property. I noticed a beautiful crow soaring above me on my way back. At first I thought that it might be a mourning dove but as it banked I could see its dark colour. What are you living on, little crow? I now wonder. Ah, but these country crows aren’t little, they’re huge.

Finally, I’d like to share with you my IPod music list.

I’m quite proud of my music collection. I no longer own one of those IPod with quazzilions of space but only a small, little Shuffle. This means that I must change the playlist constantly to avoid boredom. This is my list as of today, Friday the 14th of February, 2014, a snowy and stormy day in southern Quebec.

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day, too, to all you lovers out there!

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