Monday, December 17, 2007

Snow like Silk, Wind like Needles

Sunday's snow fell cold and fine, whipped and swirled by the northeast wind. It was a day to wax long for classical and leave the skate skis in the rack.

With temperatures in the lower mid-teens, Swix V 20 or VR 30 worked perfectly as long as you applied it long and thin. The skis slid smoothly through the silky powder in contrast to the stinging assault of the wind on the way across the open fields to reach the woods.

In the shelter of the trees the track no longer disappeared in drifted snow, at least not as quickly. This sheltered trail attracted most of the skier traffic, so they renewed the track as each one passed.

I felt less like a badly made puppet this time. Conditions steadily improve and I improve with them. The brain knows what to ask the body to do, but the body can't seem to deliver it with the same grace and power I remember from the best of every season past. But the short sections in which it all works get longer and more frequent until they merge into the continuous flow that keeps me looking for it.

The fact that February conditions have arrived at the middle of December doesn't seem as strange as it should. New England has traditionally been able to dish up an early winter just as easily as it produces depressing months of gray and brown with only slush and ice to coat the dead leaves and half-frozen mud. We choose to believe that the legendary winters are the true reality and the gray desolation is abnormal, but averages are made of extremes combined and divided equally. We're making out this year. That's all we can say.

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