Imperial Valley Press

Walking through the snow

- CARRIE CLASSON Photos and other news can be found at CarrieClas­

It was snowing hard, the way it almost never does anymore, and I decided I needed to go for my walk, heedless of the weather.

“I probably won’t be gone long!” I texted a friend in California as I headed out the door looking like an Arctic explorer. The snow was coming down fast and sideways. Many businesses were closed and the streetligh­ts had eerily popped on at midday.

Once outside, I wondered if this was such a good idea.

It was impossible to keep the snow out of my eyes. I pulled my furtrimmed cap down so it nearly hid my eyes. I pulled my face mask up over my nose and navigated through a narrow strip of vision with a fringe of fur on top.

It was a lot of work. Between 4- to5- inches of snow had already fallen and only a few people had traversed the sidewalk ahead of me. I found myself tripping and slipping in their tracks.

“I’m going to walk to the next cross street and turn around,” I promised myself. “A short walk is better than no walk at all!”

I kept trudging.

But a funny thing happened on the next block. The last of the footprints disappeare­d, and I was walking through untouched, fresh snow. Once I was no longer stumbling in the footsteps of previous pedestrian­s, the walk became easier. The snow had a bounce to it. My steps, though slow, were even and smooth. I started to have fun.

“I’ll go one more block before turning around.”

The block came and went. Every so often, I’d hit a patch of sidewalk where someone had shoveled, and walking became amazingly easy. Then I’d go back to what I was now used to.

And, eventually, walking through the snow became normal. I settled into a slow but steady pace and observed the closed businesses and the unshoveled sidewalks and the snowplows trying to clear the street beside me. At one point, I saw two young people trying to pry a car out of a parking spot, and I helped push it free.

“Thank you!” they called as they headed down the street, wheels spinning in the deep snow.

“They’re going to get stuck again,” I thought. And they probably did.

I heard sirens in the distance and watched great whirls of snow gust off the rooftops and fill the air with dancing snow phantoms. I ended up walking my whole route.

I remember hearing the neural pathways of our brain described as paths through the snow. I can think in new ways, but it is much easier to follow an existing path, one that has already been cleared, and so I’ll do that whenever possible.

But I wonder if there isn’t more to it.

I think of all the times that I’ve heard there was a “right way” to do things, and remember all the times the right way hasn’t been all it’s cracked up to be. Of course, it’s always easy to walk on a clear path. But sometimes I have to break a new trail and, when the path is new, it’s often a good idea to find my own way.

“I did the whole loop!” I told my friend in California once I was back. “It wasn’t too hard to walk because I was the first one to make tracks!”

“It’s harder to follow in someone else’s footsteps?” she asked. She hasn’t seen a lot of snow.

“It is!”

And it was. And there’s a lesson for me in that, I am sure.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States