Missing Winter Sports
I once vowed I’d never to a gym, not if I could snap on my skis to tour the field or buckle on my snowshoes and head up the hill. But there’s been negligible snow that–instead of piling up in pillows of drifts–has hardened after the rain, covering the fields in a carapace of dull ice. I stretch steel spikes over my soles, clawing my way to the river, which pounds boulders downstream as if this were late March, not January, as if this winter is one long ending.
Climate Change is Here Now
Without a bluebird sky bouncing off snowpack, I’m not sun-blind: I can see the lay of the land, and climate change is no longer in the future. The winter I live for is gone. Sure, I skated for four glorious days of black ice in a brief window of safety, but the ice has been ruined by rainstorms and melt.
Change of Attitude
Glum indoors, my brain melted by the fire. I was losing language, memory, motivation. Condemned to hard time and contrary to my belief in the out-of-doors, I signed up for a four-month stint at the gym, and it changed my attitude—just like that.
Bring on the muscle aches. I delight in real fatigue, the effort of pushing against real resistance, not the recalcitrance of entropy in unwashed dishes stacked in the sink, clean clothes permanently wrinkled in the laundry basket, papers heaped for the filing of taxes. Those resolutions of order and efficiency jettisoned in less than a fortnight.
All this rain. There’s nothing about this January that’s dry. Pour me another.
Trying Not to Drive
It’s not the gym I so dislike; it’s that to get there I have drive. I’ve been doing my small part to reduce my emissions by living in place, growing my food, cooking our meals, hiking out the back door, not driving to town for every little thing, and certainly not for exercise or entertainment, not when we have an antic dog, decorative cat, a half-mile of groaning bookshelves and a thirty-six inch TV we’ve figured out how to use, somewhat.
One day at the gym and I’m hooked. I’m handed a paper with a circuit to follow and like a genuine overachiever, I increase reps my second time; I add weight the third. I figure out how to program the elliptical to do intervals while Roman Mars and Ezra Klein are mainlined into my ears. Sweat blinds me. I have to squint to watch my heart rate soar, scouring my blood vessels, pumping oxygen to my brain.
Yes! This is what I need in this season of no snow, sublimating glaciers, a year when even the Alps are bare. But I’m in a Catch-22. This workout is a good workaround for me, but what about my drive to the gym?