Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter walking meditation

I just got back from a brief trip to Seattle, where the sidewalks are always clear and you can walk at any pace you like without fear of slipping on the ice. Walking outdoors in Minneapolis this time of year is different. It's more like walking meditation.

Walking on city sidewalks in winter requires mindful attention to each step. Even so, you may be placing your foot down with intention, and suddenly it slides out in front of you and down you go on one knee, like a medieval knight before his liege. Except nobody will dub you Sir anything. And somehow, when I have done that this winter, I have managed to go down on my bad knee, the one that doesn't want to bend more than 90 degrees. The fall forces a sharp bend in the knee and soon after, that poor abused joint swells up and is stiff for a few days.

After the second such occurrence this winter, I decided to give up on our city sidewalks until spring. So it was a treat to be in Seattle for a few days and walk around freely outdoors. The mild temperatures (in the 40s and low 50s) were just a bonus, it's the relief of walking on nonslippery sidewalks that meant the most to me.