This week was one of the iciest yet this winter. A sequence of rain, then freezing cold temperatures, then a warm spell, then more rain and freezing cold temperatures again is the perfect recipe for ice. We used to live in a house at the top of a long, steep hill and when this kind of weather came sweeping in we would have to literally put on ice climbing shoes and bring out our ice picks in order to sand the driveway. If we lived there this week we would have been in our climbing gear for sure. And I would have been in a state of body-trembling anxiety. I was so afraid of that driveway when it was icy. I will never forget the one morning I went out to start the car to warm it up, went back inside to get the kids ready to go, and when I came back the car was down the driveway, across the road, in a ditch. Thank goodness no cars had come. Thank god I hadn’t put the kids in the car yet. I still shudder thinking about it.
So I don’t have a great relationship with ice.
But yesterday was a run day for me. And Kara and I weren’t going to be deterred by the weather. We donned our yak-traks and headed out onto the trail. Sheer and total ice. It reminded me of one of those old-fashioned ice skating scenes in Holland, maybe, with winding frozen rivers. Kara and I had to run along the side of the trail. Any step on it would have resulted in both of us on our tails. I know this because the dogs did slip and really fell on theirs. And even the sides of the trail were icy. I had to keep my eyes on my feet the entire time I was running.
(We did stop, though, at the part of the trail that winds right on the edge of the river and just looked out at the sparkling wide swath of ice and the blue-pink sky above it. It felt like some other magical landscape just beyond our reach.)
I initially felt that fear that I always feel when I’m worrying about falling; when I am sure, at any moment, I am going to lose control. But as I ran—as I continued to focus on my feet, and as the unusual silence between Kara and me opened itself up to the sound of ice cracking on the river, the clicking of the dogs’ toes on the frozen ground and the rush of the wind—I began to get into a rhythm. My feet, my breathing, and my head all came together in a sort of running meditation. I was fully in the moment, fully in my body, and not afraid at all.
The first thing Kara said to me when we finished the run was, “That was hard but it was kind of like a meditation and I began to love it…” How amazing that we had shared the same experience without ever communicating during it. Did one of us inspire it in the other? Did the landscape inspire it in both of us?
Whoever it was the helped me transform my fear into joy, I thank you.
I hope you all find a transformative moment this week. I don't have a book recommendation this time around but maybe you can find that moment in a book you are reading, or maybe in your own creative work.