Monday, April 22, 2013

say it with food

"If you have something to say, say it with food," is a phrase not unique to this specific place. It's something that, while not generally verbalized so explicitly, is played out in many places urban, suburban and rural. I'm in a number of community groups and I am happy when the 'build community' goal is spurred along by people bringing hand crafted foods. Most of you are likely familiar with the poster "How to Build Community," which features advice such as "turn off your TV" and "go for a walk" and "sit out on your front porch." I'll add "bring along hand crafted food." The world would be a much better place if more people had their hands in a mixing bowl when they did not have their hands in the soil of the garden. Just be sure to wash your hands inbetween.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Skiing Bonus Round

This extended late winter weather has provided a bonus round of cross country skiing. It’s a particular kind of cross country skiing – sliding on what yesterday was a layer of slush but this mornings is a hard crust.

Throughout most of the winter, I have my favorite trails to follow and like a meadow vole I stick to those runways. Must be my goal orientedness (is that a word?). I like to know how far I skied and how long it took me to do so. The past few mornings, though, I’ve gone off track. Off track in a good way. I just go out and go in which ever direction I feel like going with no real plan. I don’t know how far I’ve gone. I do know it’s been great fun.

A topo map of our property would look like a blank piece of paper. There is not a single contour line. Sounds like a boring ski, and I generally do prefer skiing in some topographic relief. But these aimless wandering skis over our flat terrain have been a real delight. First, skiing over the hay fields brings out a Walter Mitty feeling of skiing across the trackless arctic (except it’s only for an hour and I get to retreat to a warm house*). Also, the prevailing NW winds over the winter have driven the snowfalls into drifts downwind of the scattered shrubs. Sliding up and down and around the drifts offers another Walter Mitty feeling of skiing big moguls.

It’s not all fantasy though. And it’s not about ‘oh, now I feel recharged to get on with the day’s tasks.’ Or not totally anyway. And it’s not just ‘oh, good, I’m burning off that delicious but very large piece of home-made apple pie with an all butter crust I ate last night.’ Not totally. It’s mostly an in-the-moment, having-fun- right now kind of sensation. The idea of ‘as much fun as you can have with your clothes on’ did go through my mind. The other aspects are added benefit, but it’s all about the fun. It’s the same sensations derived from bicycling down an open road. And that season is coming real soon.

*I recently finished Adam Gopnik’s book “Winter: Five Windows on the Season.” It’s a good read, wildly rambling through history, humanities, sports, global climate change. His contention is that winter only became thought of as a pleasurable time of year once central heating was invented. I would agree with that. Winter activities are enjoyable only if one can then go back to one’s nice warm abode. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Remains of winter

Several days ago, winter made an encore performance. We got a few inches of new snow on top of the snowpack. We also had cold overnight temps that firmed up the snowpack. Before that, it was starting to rot, which made for a certain sinking feeling when the ground drops out from under you as you walk or even ski across. There's the expression about having the rug pulled out from under you. Is there an expression about having the ground drop out from under you? Falling into 2' of rotting snow makes for a tricky extrication exercise.

Yesterday through today, winter made a curtain call. Not quite an encore. Not everyone was encouraging winter's return to the stage. For the past several ski sessions I have thought that it would be the last of the season. I think there's a few more left but I do feel some degree of infidelity to skiing. The sun angles are such that I can't help but think about cycling while skiing. That must be a sign that it is time to indeed bid winter a fond farewell. Well sometime during the month of April anyway.

The snowbanks are starting to recede a bit, too. One advantage of the snowbanks is that they lend a degree of topographic relief to an otherwise flat plain.