I set out for a late afternoon of skiing on Lake Monona today and was grateful to see a lot of other people, many dogs, and even some snowblowers out on the frozen lake. (Neighbors were clearing a ice skating rink.) I traversed the lake, making it all the way from the shores of Madison to those of Monona (first time for that – yay!). The thing about skiing is that its awesome when someone has gone before you, and left their tracks in the snow. You just glide through the snow faster and easier. When I turned around to come back to Madison, I thought about Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken, and wondered if the day would be more rewarding if I made my own path. So, I stepped out of the groomed trail and struggled to make my own.
I think we often put a lot of pressure to be individuals, do our own thing, create something new, and do what we can to leave ou unique mark on the world. It’s a real relief to say that sometimes, that individualistic pursuit is just overrated. Life is enjoyable no matter, even though millions have gone before us. In a matter of minutes, I skiied over to the old trail and made my way home, with ease. I am thankful for the person who went before me, and for the realization that creating something new or blazing a new trail isn’t always worth the struggle.
Up early and restless, I decided to venture out for a walk on the frozen Lake Monona. Each step I took cracked the ice-crusted snow cover and made a satisfying crunching sound. They echoed off the banks of the lake, making me feel 100 times more powerful than I am. Which was good, considering I am still pretty terrified of walking on frozen lakes. Plenty of cracks and fault lines splitting the ice today, reminding me that I was only a few inches of frozen water above hypothermia. When I got brave enough to stop and peer down into them, I swore I could see water.
Having left my camera at home, I returned to the lake this afternoon. It was bright and sunny outside, but still cold enough to freeze water. As I stood on the lake, about 20 yards from shore, the tranquility of afternoon’s silence was broken by the sound of an enormous rubber band being stretched to its limit. When I realized this is also the sound of huge plates of ice cracking, I sprinted to the shore and decided I’d be happy with pictures taken of the lake, rather than on the lake.
And yet, I made it back to shore alive. I am grateful for that.
Recently, a friend told me the story of a family reptile pet that died during winter (I think it was a frog or lizard). Since the family wanted to bury it, they kept it in the freezer all winter until the ground thawed in spring. How’d you like to see that staring back at you when you’re hunting around for leftovers on a lazy week
Diene called me at noon on a blizzardy day, talking fast enough to make me nervous.
“Katie. I can’t talk. I am driving to lunch. The roads are terrible.”
“If you can’t talk, why are calling?”
“There’s something in the freezer for you. Gotta go.”
Of course, I saw the divine 64% dark chocolate bar when I got the coffee grounds out of the freezer that morning and had been hoping all day it was for me. Finally, I could enjoy it without feeling like I was stealing.
I am grateful for a freezer free of reptilian corpses and full of surprises.
I’ve been losing a lot of cords lately – first my iPod charger and then my photo memory card reader. I am still not convinced that there isn’t a thief among us, but hey – I’ve bought replacements and once again my blog has photos of the things that I am grateful for. First on the list – Feuerzangenbowle punch – which is some awesome type of flaming alcohol that my friend Pete serves at his annual Feuerzangenbowle punch party. Hopefully my readers in Germany will appreciate this. (I know there is at least one of you!) Grateful for new cords and flaming liquor – not necessarily together.