Getting Outside in Winter (sucks)

January 30, 2019
January in Dunstable

It has been my intention to get outside more, to connect myself with the land I live on and the passage of the seasons. Of course, it's been freaking cold. And windy. And unpleasant. This is challenging. I mean, I don't wanna!

As with anything else, it's easy to beat ourselves up over our shortcomings and lack of follow-through regarding any sort of intention, but it's important to remember to be patient, and most importantly, present. You're nature, you're the seasons and their cycles. Chances are that anything you're experiencing now is a part of the season and tied to the cycles of the Earth, whether it's Seasonal Affective Disorder, depression, or just inertia and low tolerance for the cold. 

One thing I've found that helps a lot is lowering my expectations. Seriously! I know that sounds like a joke, but it's not. Expectations are never about the present, or even the future; they're just theoretical and often totally neurotic. Instead, I tell myself to keep it simple, and just do a thing. Just bundle up and go outside and take a quick walk around the house. I can do that! So I put on my coat and leash up the dog (who, unlike me, is beyond excited) and grab my phone so I can try and document something small but important.

I've gotten into the (short) habit of walking along the edge of the field next to our yard. The dog loves this, because so many animals cross through overnight and leave notice of their ambling, whether it's matted down grass, feathers, or a good poop. That's the best thing in the world -- someone else's poop. The grass underneath my feet is crisp, and I can feel the cut stalks of weeds hitting the bottom of my boots as I move along. The one nice thing about being outside now is that it's possible to walk the perimeter of the yard without having to worry too much about ticks and poison ivy. I can see the rock wall crumbling into the leaves, and the places where maybe, just maybe, there's a path to the power lines.

The most special thing is watching the sun close to its setting place in the West. This changes over the course of the year and is easily marked by several trees. Noticing the Sun is a great way of Being Here Now, especially if I take a moment to feel the warmth on my face and consciously breathe in the air around me.

It's beautiful here!