Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finding My Mittens

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Curtis with his cousin last December while visiting Minneapolis. I think I would like to wear a snowsuit like that...

My foot slipped on ice as I ran under a bridge this afternoon. That momentary loss of traction, that brief absence of grip reminded me that the days of running without gloves, in the occasional pair of shorts, on pavement that is dry or wet but not covered in snow and ice are almost gone. The snow line slowly creeps down the mountains in the distance, hovering closer and closer to our sea level existence, reminding me every day as I drive toward the mountain range making my way home, that the roads will soon be covered.

I have plans to purchase snow tires, to get them studded, to get them put on my vehicle. I haven't ever had to do this before, and the whole process makes me feel a lot like a grown up. When I was in high school my mom would get studded tires put on the vehicles, looking to add yet one more measure of protection for her driving teenagers. The studs would help gather traction on the icy roads that linger all winter. Ice covers the lines on the roads and makes starting and stopping and driving up and down hills infinitely more tricky. I never got in an accident in high school, but as I reenter the realm of treacherous driving, I find myself wondering if I've lost my touch for icy roads and snowy conditions, much like I've lost my resistance for cold weather.

In preparing for the coming temperature drops I've been evaluating my winter wardrobe. While my sweater/jacket/layer wardrobe was a bit excessive for the Midwest, it is already starting to feel a bit minimal. I found myself perusing high quality gloves and mittens while out shopping yesterday. Wind resistant, multi-layered, hand coverings were offered in a wider variety than I thought existed. I briefly considered a pair of "extra cold" mittens on clearance, complete with a wind resistant shell, before leaving empty handed, ever a frugal shopper.

Later I rode my bike with Curtis as he ran the local trails. The air was wet and cold, and despite my dress of two long sleeved shirts, a wind breaker, tights, an ear warmer and gloves, by the end of the forty minute run I was frozen. It took a bath to get circulation going in a couple stubborn toes, and my hands were cold for the rest of the night.

And so I prepare for the coming of winter, completing some tasks in advance and others by trial and error. In the end, that is life: Some obstacles are foreseen and prepared for, others come at inopportune times, leaving us frozen, unsure of how to respond, missing a pair of mittens that were offered earlier in the day.

Next time, I'm buying the mittens.

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