When you haven’t written for a while, it’s really hard to get back to it. As the days and weeks go on, you start to wonder if you have anything to say and, if so, if you can possibly say it in an interesting way. You know you used to be able to write and there is a part of you that knows you will do so again, but that part gets farther and farther (further and further?) away as time passes and no words are forthcoming. I’ve missed that part of myself, the writing part, and I’ve missed being in touch with you, friends and strangers who read my words. So here goes.
I spent the first month or so of my first Minnesota winter intrepidly, if gingerly, circling the lake three or four times a week. I got battery powered heated mittens and a mid-calf super-warm Eddie Bauer down coat. Also from E. Bauer, fleece-lined jeans and hiking pants. Under those, silk long johns. Under the coat, on top, at least two layers; sometimes a turtleneck, sometimes a wool sweater-jacket given to me by a friend because it was too warm for Seattle winters. A balaclava to cover my face and head came from Costco. I alternated that with a soft plush neck gator, over which I wrapped the wool scarf I’d gotten in Seattle because it was pretty a couple of winters back but was also too warm to wear there. And a hat, of course, pulled as low over my forehead as possible.
But then my feet slid out from under me too many times — including once in the surprisingly spacious port-a-potty that Mpls Park and Rec seemed to have placed on a slope so that I would have been better off trying to navigate the distance between the door and the potty on ice skates — and I buckled to the reality that slip-sliding around by myself in the freezing ass cold was probably not the best idea in the world.
I stopped walking and started doing online exercise classes. Helpful but not the same. Then a friend told me how she does between 15,000 and 20,000 steps a day, indoors, in her teeny-tiny apartment. Why didn’t I think of that? My apartment is not teeny-tiny and, since I hardly ever see anyone in person, I tend to spend an hour or two a day on the phone. A perfect time to walk. So, for the last three weeks, I’ve been doing between three and four (a couple of times I got up to five) miles a day in the apartment. It feels slightly insane sometimes, going around one side of the kitchen island in one direction and around the other on my return trip fifteen seconds later, crossing the living room to the window and heading back for the entry area, and then doing it all again. And again, and again. You get the idea. But it’s better than sitting on my butt.
Between the cold and the Covid and the crime, the streets outside my window are not very inviting. Things will change, I am sure, with the advent of spring, at least as regards the temperature and the state of the sidewalks. But, despite all the “We’re done with Covid,” or maybe because of it, I am less convinced that dropping mandates will open things up for those of us who are still diligent about mask-wearing. In fact, in conversations with my friends, we echo each other in saying, “I feel like things are closing down even more for people our age.” And the crime? What a good question.