We don’t celebrate Christmas in our home but we do enjoy spending time together as a family regardless of the day. Yesterday was absolutely a picture-postcard Christmas day as well. A snowstorm left a few centimetres of snow on the ground in the morning and it snowed off and on all day. Inside it was lovely and cozy.
At nightfall, I put on my running shoes, an extra layer of merino wool under a windbreaker, gloves and a headband to keep the cold from getting in my ears and off I went. The temperatures are below freezing, snow is falling, and a stiff wind is blowing. It is especially cold standing in the windy space between the two highrises of our apartment complex while my GPS watch gets its signal. The devil on my shoulder suggests going back inside but now I know better. As someone in a recent workshop on winter cycling said to us: we don’t dress to be warm when we walk out the door, we dress to be warm when we’re moving. So the answer clearly was: get moving.
As I cross the bridge to get to the other side of the ravine I see a bicycle headlight riding on one of the mountain bike trails far below. I clearly am not the only one interested in getting out for some exercise. They are, I will learn later, the only other one interested.
I run on the snowy sidewalk down in to the ravine. I’m a little worried about slipping but running with confidence, not stopping or hesitating, makes me more sure footed.
When I arrive at the ravine, I call home to see if they can see my light. Sage and Daegan are shocked at how even from over a half a mile away and hundreds of feet below, I am visible. Daegan goes to take a picture and I ask him if I should smile.
I take a picture of them as well. They turn the light off and on which I can see. I can’t see them moving around and waving in front of the window, though.
I turn down the road and run alone in the ravine. The mountain biker is nowhere to be found. I am struck by how beautiful it is and stop more than once to capture a photo.
In the middle of a large clearing in the middle of the ravine I stop and take a short video. It feels bigger and more peaceful than it does in any other season.
On the way home I find myself looking back on previous winters. I generally have found myself depressed and impatient for warm weather and sunlight to return between October and March. But this time, for the first time, I am enjoying the weather. Now that I have proper lighting and gear to go out on bike rides and runs, I’m also beginning to appreciate the beauty of the darkness. The forests and ravines are not just beautiful on sunny days in warm seasons, I’m finding that they’re beautiful even in the darkness of a cold winter.