January was a cold one, and I admit, I’ve taken advantage and stayed indoors to hibernate, or really veg on the couch. It’s hard to convince yourself to bundle up in twenty degree weather and go hiking. This last week, the ground has been covered in snow and ice, and as said before, I lack the best footwear for this hikes (until I buy hiking boots with my Christmas REI gift card! So exciting!). But last weekend, I got the opportunity to play in the snow and go cross county skiing! This was my first foray into winter sports and it was a blast. And by blast, I mean, I continued to have fun despite falling down, alot. a.l.o.t.
The drive to trails was boring and full of concrete, until all of a sudden, it wasn’t. As we entered the park, the snow was whiter, fresher, and beautiful. What a transformation! In the warming hut, we rented skis, along with the rest of western PA, and hit the trails. It was hard trying to find a rhythm, and I did my best to keep up with my trail mates Good news, I was at least better than the 4 year old, but otherwise, I was definitely the slowest.
After two hours, you would think I’d be more coordinated and better at managing the skis. I wasn’t. I felt I actually got worse the longer I was out. But it was worth it, because sometimes, I’d be down in the snow, and look around and find myself alone, surrounded by the beautiful quiet forest, completely blanketed in white. If you don’t live in a state with snow, it’s hard to describe the quietness it creates. Even in the city, when it snows, everything is just so….quiet, serene, calm.
I don’t know when it will snow enough again to embark on another winter skiing adventure, but I’m looking forward to it. Not the falling, or the day after soreness, but being surrounded by winter and the quiet I just can’t seem to find at any other time of year.
Today I went hiking in nearby Raccoon State Park. Leaves were just falling from orange and yellow trees, and the sun was out, warming the paths, but staying cool in the shade. The perfect day to go outside.
I don’t always hike alone. In fact I am not a fan of hiking alone, sometimes constantly looking over my shoulder for strangers or large animals. But somehow I work through it. I just have to stop thinking, which is difficult for me. I am always in my head, always questioning myself, my life, my choices.
This is not my first time being jobless, and feeling disconnected and purposeless. It’s the third. But just like all those times before I gravitate outdoors to bask in the sunlight, hear the rustle of leaves and explore the state. It seems when I am the most lost, I turn to hiking. Although I’d classify more of what I do, as walking, but nonetheless, I find myself on paths through wooded areas, across streams and on boulders. It’s though I’m trying to find myself by walking in the woods. Or maybe, it’s not that complex, and it’s simply that I need to experience nature–get out of the house, away from the TV, get some fresh air and feel a part of the world.
Today my thoughts drifted to the possibility of library jobs and ideas that I’m not confident enough to pursue. Except this one–the hiking blog. I am going to pursue this. This is a good idea.