Back when I was in my 20's and fitness came easily, I would often get into a nice summer exercise routine and then drop it like a rock when cold weather came. In grad school, with friends there, I started cross-country skiiing, my first regular winter exercise, though I wasn't too regular about it. Then, in Chicago, I had Ser, a native Alaskan, to prompt me safely through a season of winter running, and the standard was set. I learned to give up on the same routine working in all seasons.
That's not to say I always manage to successfully develop a routine. This fall I lost track of exercise, mostly, despite many beautiful days and the once-weekly biking through October. Winter is always challenging, but finally last weekend we got snow - not much at first, but now settled into about 4 inches of squeaky-cold white stuff, just right for skiing.
Saturday, the girls and I went sledding with a friend of Emily's, despite cold rain which threatened to melt the snow out from under us, but didn't quite. Sunday, we went downhill skiing at Seven Springs, with Hazel and I pairing up on the green slopes and Emily and Brian going for slightly bigger challenges. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday I cross-country skiied, and hope to go out again this morning once the sun has had a chance to warm up a tiny bit. I go right down our yard, across the snow-covered pool parking lot, and to the flat field and hilly power line at the Community Center. I try to go about 2 miles, though I'm not measuring exactly, and as you can see, on Monday I had to work to keep from melting the snow beneath my repeated ski tracks. (This is not a problem today!)
Barbara Kingsolver and other responsible garden writers extoll the virtues of seasonal produce overdoses. Today, I extoll the virtues of seasonal exercise overdoses. Swim and mow the lawn in summer, run or bike in fall in winter, rake leaves in fall, dig the garden in spring, ski, sled and shovel in winter. At the end of summer, I am infinitely relieved to see the end of growing grass; at the end of fall, I love to see the last leaves tucked safely in a pile. I'm not sick of skiing yet, but I might get there. If I do, I'll be proud of myself for making the most of the weather, for making the best of the season, and for making it through winter, perhaps no thinner, but at least still in good enough shape to keep every pound I carry moving.