Death, taxes and more snow

When the big guy next to you with the scruffy beard and trucker hat gets up to sing karaoke, you start to wonder. Then when his absolutely amazing voice has you turning to jelly inside as he sings “Come Monday” you know it’s happened: the world’s axis has tilted a little, the barstool isn’t feeling so solid under you anymore and you’ve gotta go home, out into the cold air where you can count on a brisk walk, the wind off the ocean and a quiet house to put everything right again.

It got me thinking: If you continue to get snowstorms when you think winter is finally over and if you can’t count on a truck driver-looking guy to act like a truck driver and grunt and just plant himself at the bar and drink beer,what can you count on? I came up with a short list:

I can count on something inside me wanting to go running in spring, even if I’m jumping over snowbanks and slogging inside soaking wet sneakers within the first mile. I’ve found a few things that help me get through the uncomfortable parts, like good socks, winterweight tights and my Superfeet insoles that take the brunt of the pounding. But really I don’t care, I’m just responding to the overwhelming urge to get outside and even the aches and pains feel good after a hot shower

snow doesn't matter, I can count on my inner clock to tell me spring is time to run -- in wet shoes

snow doesn’t matter, I can count on my inner clock to tell me spring is time to run — in wet shoes

I can count on another snowfall after I’m pretty sure winter is done. And that will make me want to get my skis back on. One very reliable place to xc ski in late winter is Leominster State Forest, the snow stays longer there than anywhere else I’m willing to drive to when I have a couple hours. And when I’m there I can count on a few more things: getting lost, then looking at my GPS and laughing because I don’t really care, I’ll eventually get out; staying too late because I couldn’t leave when the conditions were so good and I was just getting my ski mojo going again; my phone battery crapping out on me right when it would be a good idea to tell the person waiting for me that I’m going to be late …. and …. getting home close to on time by dint or by stint or by turbo (your guess).

If I'm lost, my phone is dead and I'm going to make someone worry, I must be in Leominster

If I’m lost, my phone is dead and I’m going to make someone worry, I must be in Leominster

The one thing I can count on my phone for is its photographic function. I’m not sure why else I carry it. I love getting out into remote places and grabbing a picture of something really cool to show those back at home. Of course I can count on several of them to roll their eyes and go “great, mom, that’s cool” in a very monotone, patronising way, and then I can count on Mike saying “You were WHERE? Don’t go that far, I’m worried about you…” Which makes me wonder why I bother.

something new to rely on: a waterproof phone holder. if only it charged the battery too!

something new to rely on: a waterproof phone holder that works for New England rain and Caribbean snorkeling (I tested both). if only it charged the battery too!

new this winter after years of frozen laces: I am officially the last on earth to discover gaiters. you gotta have them.

new this winter after years of frozen laces and snow in my boots: I am officially the last on earth to discover gaiters. I can’t believe I waited so long, you gotta have them.

I guess the reason I go out there is that I love to be surprised at what nature has in store for me, it’s reliable like that: will I run across the otter whose tracks I followed along the cranberry bog, or will I find an enormous flock of seagulls all looking in the same direction on the beach, or will I see a seal in the canal or just the cool way the light filters through the trees on a trail?

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I may be the only one who appreciates the things the snow and wind do during a storm, but if nothing else it’s reliable, and it will keep happening when we are all just dust in the air

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along the Sudbury River in Concord

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one of my favorite pictures ever: this little snowball fell off a tree and rolled downhill, making a cool pattern as it went

making the first tracks in new snow never loses its charm for me

making the first tracks in new snow never loses its charm for me

even brutal snowstorms reveal beauty. note the icicles that grew sideways at the top of the photo (the wind never stopped)

even brutal snowstorms reveal beauty. note the icicles that grew sideways at the top of the photo (the wind never stopped)

I guess if I ever follow the little old guy in the cowboy hat who likes to rasp Glenn Campbell songs into the karaoke mike, I will choose the Stones:

Well, we all need someone we can lean on
And if you want it, you can lean on me
Yeah, we all need someone we can lean on
And if you want it, you can lean on me

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