Archive for January 27th, 2008

I woke this morning to a couple of centimeters of snow. Part of me was mildly outraged that snow should fall so late in the seasons. Snow may be continuing to fall in places like Calgary and Saskatoon, where they’re still experiencing lows of -20 or greater, but I’ve been running in shorts since New Years, and was starting to expect the first signs of spring in two or three weeks. Still, like most weather extremes in Vancouver, the snow is unlikely to stay for more than a few days. Meanwhile, this morning, it was enough of a novelty that I could enjoy the experience of an early morning run through it.

Speed, of course, is totally lost in the snow, especially when it covers a thin layer of ice, like this morning’s did. So, frequently, is balance and dignity – I fell twice this morning, although, with the feeling of an unexpected holiday that comes with snow in Vancouver, I took both with surprisingly good humor. But I was in no hurry, and slogged along, my ankles getting as much of an extra workout as they would have if I was running over sand.

The worst moments were crossing the roads, where the few cars on the road had stripped the layer of snow and left only black ice. I tiptoed with exaggerate caution over the intersections, arms spread low for balance and head high so that I could check for cars.

I’ve always enjoyed the sensation of being the only person stirring on a morning run, but the snow adds substantially to that feeling. True, even at sunrise, the tracks in the snow indicated once or twice that I was not the first person stirring. Yet for long stretches, mine were the first footprints in the snow. And even where I could see the signs of others, the sound-muting qualities of the snow were in force, and the quiet intensified the sense of solitude. Literally, too, I was one of the first stirring, with no more than a single car passing every kilometer.

I didn’t experience, as I have in other snowfalls, being the fastest thing on the road. This year, Vancouver has had enough snowfalls that most people were prepared for driving in the snow. However, the snowfall intensified before I had finished half my run, so I had a good twenty minutes of feeling that I was falling into an endless well of snow flakes.

Then came the welcome relief of a hot bath and dry clothes – to say nothing of the rosy glow of virtue that comes from finishing something difficult and mildly against my inclinations.

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