Stepping out the door was like dipping your toe in the pool – yikes, that's cold! Here's hoping I get used to it. I pulled my scarf up over my mouth, adjusted my earbuds and switched on my iPod, then started walking. It was almost a no-go, this brisk stroll, what with me still being tired from the action packed long weekend, and the wind howling so un-invitingly. You can still turn back, I told myself a block in, Why not just break out an aerobics DVD (Let's face it, that would never happen)?"
Trash cans, for sale signs, lawn chairs were lying prostrate in submission to the authoritative arctic gusts putting autumn in its place. We're baaaaaack, they announced in no uncertain terms – slapping my face and numbing my fingertips in the process. Already the gray and shortened days had begun wreaking their subtle havoc on my mind and body, making me hungry, sleepy, irritable. And good grief, it's still only November!
The downtown was empty, save for a few employees rushing straight from their cars into the warmth of their various storefronts. Stubbornly, I trudged on alone until I finally reached the park, where I spied a regular fixture on my walking path shuffling towards me. His bearded jowls were a little rosier than normal, and his uniform of scruffy denim overalls was covered partially by a puffy camouflage coat, but otherwise he and his smiling eyes, his jolly demeanor, were un-phased by the cruelties of the new season. Gooood Morning, he said, nodding his head once, like a gentleman tipping his hat to a passing elegant lady. Good morning, I replied in kind, like I always do – like it was perfectly appropriate and natural that I'd be out and about inhaling the fresh air, despite the fact I could no longer feel my nose and was on the verge of being swept up and blown sideways.
And so it begins, I thought then, the daily battles against the seductive lures of my cozy couch, beckoning me to stay inside, live in my sweat pants and snack away the next four months while my muscles atrophy. Heck no! I declared, suddenly horrified by the prospect of pasty skin, continuous exhaustion and ten extra pounds. I went and picked up my pace, inspired by the consistency of the cardio- committed Mr. Happy and the vigorous pumping of my blood clearing my head and jolting me into a welcome state of alertness.
Thus I find myself, on this frigid and sun-less afternoon, wide awake, game face on, gearing up for the ups and downs of this my 37th winter.