I’ve said it so many times before…I love the outdoors so much.
It’s something that has been with me since birth. I have an affection for the smallest things out there, the simple beauty of a bird silhouette against the white snow, a small shoot of Daffodil trying to reach up through the ice or the flash of white tails on the back ends of deer running away from me because I came upon them too fast and downwind.
Whatever it is, whatever need I have to be outside, I am so thankful for it.
It fixes me.
If I’ve had a bad start, a confusion that I can’t figure out because I’m either too stubborn or too caught up in my own needs and I can’t see the truth in things; a breath of fresh air and time out to take the attention off my desires to be right will always do the trick. But until this year, I wasn’t really into being outdoors in the cold. I had always been more of a warm weather outdoor gal.
I have no thyroid, it’s literally gone. I had it removed a few years ago. Anyone that has had that done can testify to the fact that no thyroid = no heat regulation. Its like the thermostat for your body is gone. Dave, my husband knows this to be true and he often refers to me as “cold blooded” because when I take my ten ice-cube toes across our king size bed to his legs at night to warm them, it takes his breath away.
The audible gasp he gives makes me laugh, but I persist and shove my toes under the heat of his knees and he allows me to, because he loves me. That and the fact that he is probably afraid if he doesn’t aid me, my poor toes might actually freeze and break off between the sheets.
But back to the woods…today I made my way through and I felt so privileged to be the only bi-ped that had entered this woodland retreat since the last snow. I knew this to be true because there were no human footprints there other than my own. Which sends a bolt of electricity through me because I love being one of the proprietors of those woods, if only in theory as they do not belong to me.
Coming upon rabbit trails dotted in the snow is not unusual, seeing tracks of deer in various stages of growth are not uncommon and the occasional small coyote or fox will occasionally cross our path. But today, today was different. I came upon one of the largest coyote prints I’ve seen, except for a larger one that resembled a wolf print I had been fortunate to see with my family in Northern Kentucky a few months ago.
I didn’t want to scare myself on my outdoor run, but I couldn’t hide my joy as I put my own foot next to the print and this picture was captured for posterity. It is by all accounts the largest track I’ve encountered and part of me is secretly hoping that at some point I can catch a glimpse of this canine critter in action. Even if it is from afar and even if it makes me a bit nervous or anxious.
I’m not a part of the general mentality that Coyotes are bad and evil. While I know that they can cause a lot of damage to livestock, I also know that evidence points to the removal of wolves in Yellowstone as the root cause of the lack of tree growth and diminished forest. So eradication or removal of any animal from the ecosystem is not a good idea, even if they do lead to having a few chicken thieves in the mix. Thinning out the bad apples, I have no problem with but labeling a specific species as “bad” or unnecessary is wrong. No coyotes means more rabbits, mice and other rodents and small animals that get out of control and carry disease…so they serve a purpose and I can’t help but love them anyway.
Plus, as a woman with a garage full of mice every Fall and having to eradicate, I wouldn’t mind if the coyotes behind my house came in a bit closer just as long as they don’t come into my yard or eat my neighbors dogs.
But I’ve strayed way farther off topic than I intended….
I have learned to appreciate the cold winter run. I have learned to face into the wind and enjoy its bracing frigidity. I have learned to accept the fact that my toes are going to be cold, my face is going to be numb and there are going to be frozen strands of nostril product on my upper lip and I won’t know until it’s too late.
And I am so very, very, okay with it all. I enjoy the comical cone of steam that rises from my head after I take off my pink hat that I stole from my pre-teen daughters closet. I am thrilled with the way my car seat feels warm when I reenter the cabin of my car that patiently waited while I took on the elements just after the sun rose.
There are people who think I’m nuts. They see me run in the rain in my sons rain suit and think that I’m just asking to get sick, but in reality out there in the fresh air, I’m probably safer against germs and viruses than I would be in a stuffy gym. Not that there’s anything wrong with a gym. In fact, there is always a good reason to go there. To use whatever machines you can, to put forth any effort to raise your heart rate and metabolism and move more. That’s all good.
But for me, unless its raining cats and dogs, I’ll be outdoors thank you very much; and even in the rain, I may still be there dancing with coyotes.