On Saturday I was in a very bad mood, and it got so that I finally had to obey the voice in my head telling me to go for a walk. (The voice is a combination of my mother and Anne Lamott.)
When you’re in a bad mood, you never want to follow the voice in your head telling you to go for a walk. You’re like, Screw you, outdoors, with your obnoxious sunshine and your stupid invigorating breezes. Let me just sit here refreshing my Facebook feed every 2.5 seconds and picking at my cuticles until they bleed.
You have to put on a pair of socks to go outdoors in Cleveland in snowy November, but even before that you have to get up off the couch. You have to worry about running into the neighbor who yelled at your kid four years ago, and the neighbor who will talk about himself for an hour if you let him, and the House with the Big Dog. You know that Big Dog house is protected by invisible fencing, but you are willing to bet money that it’s only a matter of time before the system malfunctions just as you are walking past.
Worse than any of these things is the notion that going for a walk might actually make you feel better, and you simply cannot have that.
Still, I bundled up in full snow gear, grabbed my iPod, and began a slow trudge down the sidewalk, which was still mostly covered in 3-4 inches of snow. I had to put on a pair of sunglasses because it was preternaturally sunny, and if there’s one thing I have never been able to abide, it’s a sunny winter’s day.
“That’s because you’ve never been skiing in Tahoe,” my friend V has told me.
“It’s ridiculous,” says the P-Dawg.
“Where did I go wrong? (My mom.)
It was so sunny that even wearing my purple knockoff Wayfarer sunglasses, I had to look down to avoid being struck by a migraine or unrealistic expectations about the essential goodness of mankind. But I cranked up Pat Benetar and continued putting one foot in front of the other, and after a few minutes I felt like I could stand to have a look around. The cold air was invigorating, and the sunshine took the edge off so that eventually I removed my tassle hat and unzipped my parka one eighth of an inch.
By this time I was hoofing it on a cleared towpath that runs alongside of a golf course. There were a few people out jogging, and I made eye contact with them.
It didn’t kill me.
I got a few ideas about prints I want to make and words I want to write. I saw some things around me that could be construed as beautiful and worthy and true.
I felt . . . good.
And I had to admit that the walk was winning.
However, this didn’t stop me from turning around on my heel after hitting the twenty minute mark for which I’d set an alarm on my iPhone, and heading for home. I may be Thoreau in training, but I still have an anti winter sunshine reputation to uphold.Subscribe to the blog. (It's free!)