Making Friends with Winter

Making Friends with Winter

Many of my friends tell me they despise winter! No, it cannot be, my mind screams. We live in the Midwest, so I believe we need to make friends with winter. We loved the snow and the cold and the sledding and the ice skating when we were young! I remember walking to basketball games in my teens in the dead of winter at 20 below, wearing wool Bermuda shorts and knee sox and tennis shoes! And loving that too! (You can read more in my book Scoria Roads.) And I learned to downhill ski at age 40 and dearly loved that too! But now my doc nixed downhilling; I can no longer do that.

With my renewed yearn to love winter still at my age and my yen to always learn something new, I pondered how I will do winter this year. As I pondered tramping through the snow, not on hills, not concerned about ice, it became a no-brainer! Snowshoeing!!  Many years ago, I snowshoed in Itasca State Park on rental lightweight snowshoes and remembered how much I loved that.

After hours of research, I dived in and bought myself a pair of lightweight aluminum snowshoes. Merry Christmas, Norma! From Norma! I now anxiously wait for them to be delivered.

Waiting, I’m looking back on my trips to Norway and the Scandinavians who have a deep reverence for nature. They are almost obsessed with the outdoors.  It is their lifestyle to live to the fullest every season. In fact, they have a word for it: friluftsliv (free-loofts-liv). Their philosophy is we should connect with nature every single day, no matter the weather. So winter is not tolerated; it is embraced. That’s been my theory all along: make friends with winter.

My family in Norway tell me, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” So now I’m digging out my snowmobile, downhill, and cross-country ski clothing that have long been in my seldom-used winter survival clothing bag.

My belief is you don’t have to be miserable to practice friluftsliv in the wintertime. You can do some light snow shoveling, or walking–taking a new route each time, or simply opening a window and letting the cold fresh air pour in. Or you can learn a new winter sport – maybe snowshoeing.

This year, make friends with winter.

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