Walks After Dark

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
As the winter carries on, I continue forth with my apparent subconscious desire to turn into a winter dumpling. It’s not that I mean to avoid exercise in winter, it’s just that I always manage to convince myself that there’s a better way to spend the daylight hours. So last night, Andy and I set out after dark for a walk across the lake.

Each footstep we took sank into fresh fluffy snow then broke through a tough snowy crust before finally settling on the packed layer which covers the lake’s ice. When you’re 55 miles away from the nearest grocery store, the night is free of the typical noises of traffic and people. When there’s barely any wind and the birds have gone to bed and the squirrels have ceased their daylight chattering, the noise produced by two people trudging through the darkness is significant. There’s the scrunch of footfall, the swish of pant legs through the snow, the tinkle of kicked up miniature snowballs being skittering across the snow’s surface. Often as we walked, I was sure there was some other noise coming from across the lake but realized when we stopped moving that the hollow, almost howling, noise I’d heard was nothing more the echoes and reverberations of our steps. To make so much noise in such a solitary world can make you feel that you are very big, but one look at the stars on top of stars shining brightly in the sky above, reminds you that in fact, you are very small.

With the stars close at hand, the conversation quickly turned to other worlds. Last winter Andy read and I read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. The first book of the trilogy, The Golden Compass takes place in the north country, not so different from where we currently reside. At the end of the book, the main character, Lyra, walks on a bridge of light to another world. Looking up in the night sky, last night, we commented that it seems as though you actually do that.

Here in this world, there is so much I could be doing that I’m not doing anything at all. I held one interview yesterday which means I have all the information to write an article today. While I sent out one query this morning, that just means five more need to go out before the month’s done. I need to get stuff pulled together to submit to my alma mater’s literary journal and of course, there’s always a chapter to write.

When we turned around last night we found ourselves walking into the wind. We had to stop so Andy could pull up his hood and dig a facemask out of his pocket for me. The walking which had been easy going the other direction grew punchy and we drifted on and off of the packed path left by the snowmobile the day before.

Sometimes it’s like that.

I ordered an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier yesterday morning only to discover after I’d made some pdfs of my clips at my parents’ house in the afternoon that I’m dearly in need of pdf editing software. (I only have Abode Reader on my computer.) The constant act of self-promotion that is the freelance writing game often grows exhausting, especially to the world’s introverts. The only things more prevalent in my life than the doubt demons are the worry demons: am I doing this right?

But no matter how the wind blows, I know if we keep walking and keep muddling along, the light shining from the cabin’s window grows brighter and brighter.

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