Derek Johnson Muses

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Snow Walking


I mean this sincerely: I enjoy walking outside in the snow during winter. Not when it is utterly, bitterly cold, like last Sunday night when I went out, walked five blocks in the sub-zero ice air before turning back, wishing the whole way I’d brought my scarf. But at least a couple of times a week during winter, I try to walk my usual 45 minutes to an hour.

I bundle up for it. I have a stock of tight, long-sleeved woven undershirts, over which I layer two or three t-shirts and a sweatshirt, two if it’s super cold. The thickness of the sweatshirt matters less than the overall number of layers. If the first two layers are tight enough, the rest should fit snugly.

Bottoms are less important. I wear flannel sleep pants underneath whatever sweats or jeans I have on. Not really a coveralls guy, but I use them on occasion.

The cold doesn’t get enough mention for how tiring it can be. Having done phone book distributions in the cold, I can testify to the fact that Gatorade is essential to getting throw a long snow walk. Snow itself can in fact be bearable and quite pretty when you’re in it. The wind, along with blowing snow, is the part that make snow walking excruciating.

But the essential part of snow walking, being outside in the raw elements, makes the exercise of endurance worth it. Snow walking isn’t about getting out, but moving forward toward the eight-to-nine months of the year where we in Nebraska are bound by the elements (or some winter where we dodge the bullet) and free to roam our streets without the threat of white stuff from the sky. Being outside in those summer months, well, that’s just a breeze.



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