My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Entry for December 16, 2007

I am not a man’s man. I don’t hunt, fish, or watch sports. I will not drink cheap beer, degrade women who can’t verbally fight back, or physically pick on anyone who couldn’t take me in a fight. But there are times when I feel the need to head out into an unforgiving climate to make sure that I am still capable of holding my own. This morning was one of those times.

I woke at about 5am and descended the stairs in a robe to see the back door covered in snow. A mug of tea and some news later the dog trotted down the stairs and up to my desk to tell me that she needed outside. So over to the back door we went. It was there that is where she got her first good glimpse of what she would have to brave in order to pee. I swung the door open and she stood there contemplating whether the punishment for peeing on the rug was worth not having to squat in the half-a-foot of snow. A quick glance back at me told her that it wasn’t and she hopped out the door and then back in as quickly as she could manage.

A couple hours later I was in the truck leading the way to breakfast at Bob Evans (this is the Midwest after all) to see a friend's parents out of town. All through breakfast I worried about their drive back to Ohio from Michigan with today’s weather reporting reading as, “periods of snow and gusty winds. Significant blowing and drifting snow. High 24F. Winds NNW at 25 to 35 mph. 6 to 8 inches of snow expected” ringing in my ears.

As we pulled back up to the house the true severity of the day’s weather hit me as I noticed that our previous footprints to the truck had vanished in the hour that we had been gone. Once out of the truck I stopped and, on the precipice of blowing snow and ice and the welcoming warmth of the house at Christmas, decided that I needed to leash up the dog and take her for a walk.

The snow was deep, especially where the plows and the wind had created waist deep mounds, and the constant blast of air coming from the North was bitter and angry. The dog bounded forward through the front yard with enthusiasm that she had not shown in the early morning hours and I realized that she would be hard to keep up with today. I planned to do the normal two and a half mile lap, trudging through some knee-deep snow and hidden ice patches, with as much grace as possible.

The going was not as bad as I thought and about half way I noticed another soul braving the outdoors. It was an older gentleman attempting to clear his driveway with a snow shovel. He seemed to be losing to the fight to the persistent combination of a snow and wind. I smiled and jogged by with the dog, leaving a trail of gullies where my legs had been. Pausing for a moment to watch us, he smiled and waved and I liked him immediately.

Coming around the last corner I realized that I love days like today. It is an excuse to test yourself against the natural elements. Not armed with some sort of technology, or to prove anything to anyone, just to see if you can do something simple with an obstacle in your path. So as I came back into the house growling and stripping, with the dog shaking show from her hair while attempting to chew out snow from between her feet, I felt good. I may not be a man's man, but there are times that I need to feel that I can rise to a challenge -- whether it is something truly difficult, or something as simple as taking the dog for a walk.

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