A cold walk through the woods

I’m back in Iowa for Christmas this week. I got home on Saturday evening, and it snowed overnight. And last night the cold, cold air moved in and brought temperatures way down.



The air was in single digits this morning, but the sun was bright. I put on a coat, hat and gloves and drove out to East River Valley Park for a walk. I wasn’t the only one braving the cold bright air. I met a man walking two beautiful dogs, one young and eager, the other older with more fur than dog. Several other people were strapping on cross country skis to keep themselves warm while sliding through the snow.


Though the air was cold the sun was warm, casting blue shadows on the sparkling snow. I walked up the trail along the river, then followed a branch to an open field. Tall grass and signs of animal life. I walked farther, feet in the ruts left by the skiers, until I found myself in the right-of-way of a transmission line. I saw a birdhouse, but couldn’t tell if anyone was home. Then I heard the cry of a hawk. He was hunting in a snowy farmer’s field, using the transmission pole as a perch while he looked for his small brown prey. I watched him for a while, until he flew off down the line, maybe to find better hunting grounds.


By then I was getting cold. Though I had hat and gloves I wore trail shoes and thin socks, not warm enough for the cold seeping in from the ground and snow. With no better ideas, I started running. I missed a scheduled run yesterday anyways. I felt a little silly, running through the snow in jeans and a fedora, but it worked. Warmth worked its way through me from head to foot, down to my numb toes and fingers.


I worked my way back along the trail, down the river this time and back to the car. Then down the road to the coffee shop to warm myself back up. A cold day, but not a wasted one.

— Steve

Posted on 23 December 2013