These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, December 14, 2007

the walk

i decided to take a walk to the library this afternoon. now that the cold weather has taken hold, it makes me feel closed in. the cabin fever thing. so i usually will take the 3 1/2 block walk to the library, sometimes simply for the simple reason of getting outside -- even if it's snowing or 10 degrees.

but today i had an item waiting for me. so off i went.

it turned into an adventure i should have expected, since i took a similar walk a couple of days ago.

the sidewalks were full of frozen snow and rain water. it felt as if i was walking on the rocky outcropping surface of a far off planet.

sometimes weather this time of year goes from snow and below freezing temps to rain and above freezing temps. rain has nowhere to go because snow covers yards. sidewalks turn into slushy messes -- until the temp plunges below freezing. then you get this rough, bumpy, dangerous surface.

i walked carefully, attempting to avoid the really rough patches of frozen snow and trying to stay on the smooth parts of the pavement, which wasn't always possible.

i kept my boots sliding as i traversed the sidewalks, chips of ice bouncing off the boots' tips as i trunged forward.

this sliding motion is something i learned soon after arriving up north. i thought just walk gingerly on the ice, no probably, right? wrong. i learned/was taught to slide the shoes over the ice. perhaps it seems logical, but to a south texas kid, no way. these days, i do the dance out on the ice like the rest of the northern folk.

so many parts of 14th st, pine ave. and 13th st. were difficult to walk through. now, i say this because remember my eye sight isn't great, so it'snot easy to find the smooth spots to walk on.

as i slid along, i knew someone had to be watching for within the warmth of a house, grinning, saying, "fall down, foolish boy." and i almost did. coming back from the library, having become cocky because i went through the spot on the way there, i walked a little faster, surer, then i hit a spot that caused my heart to sink down to my guts. my feet started spinning (picture a cartoon where the character is trying to run, legs pumping, but he goes nowhere). sounds funny, but it can really ruin your back when your legs twist, or if you fall, bruise the hell out of your ass or back. no thanks.

so it was a shaky walk there and back. but i got to get out for a bit, get fresh air, breath fresh air, get my music cd, and make it home in one piece.

kudos to a few houses on 14th and 13th streets and the new apostolic church at the corner of 14th and pine. they kept sidewalks cleared of ice.

i think i'll ask dawn to drive me to work this afternoon.