When the first flakes come tumbling down, I look up.
But what I see isn't the gray sky; it's a concrete wall spotted with rocks and tape. I'm at the climbing gym, learning to belay.
It may be cold outside, but here at Go Vertical, things are HEATING UP -- which might explain why half a foot of snow piles up before I even notice!
Through the fogged-up glass doors, I see my brother Mark drive up. I wish he could get out and help me walk to the car, but there's nowhere to park. So he idles in the street, engine running, waiting for me. I cautiously step out into the new white blanket.
Gripping the metal railing, I descend 4 stairs from the gym to the sidewalk. Then, I've got no choice but to let go.
One small step at a time, I insert each foot into the snow. Nervously, I put gentle weight on my Genium. But the fresh powder gives unexpected traction. It isn't nearly slippery as I feared!
In fact, the drive home turns out to be much worse! The roads are terrible, traffic is crawling, and we skid at nearly every stoplight.
But the whole way, I'm warmed by a strange new energy -- I'd rather be WALKING in the snow!
Mile Marker 1461 (Snowstorm #2):
"This is great guys! Isn't this great?!" I call out.
Ian and Dave trudge ahead of me. With each step, their footprints fill up like little ponds.
It is Storm #2 -- two days later -- and the snow is TWICE as wet.
Luckily when I arrived at the rehab gym, I caught Trainer Ian heading out to lunch.
"Can I walk with you?" I asked excitedly. "I want to practice walking in the snow!"
"Of course," he said. Ian is always up for a challenge. (Just last week, he taught me T.O.'s touchdown dance, but that's another story....)
My usual workout goes on hold, and we set out on the 2-block journey to Wawa. Dave, a co-worker, catches up with us. He's getting lunch, too.
In hiking boots, I follow Ian and Dave as they step off curbs into slush-filled puddles. In soccer and boat shoes, they're not quite as enthralled with the weather as I am.
I step into snow banks as deep as my ankle. I practice sliding down curb cuts, holding the sleeve of Ian's coat. With Ian and Dave along, I'm not afraid to take chances. If I happen to fall, we'd just laugh anyway. It'd be nothing like falling alone.
The cold, moist air smells like an ice skating rink. I breathe it in deep. Slippery or not, this is FREEDOM.
In the last storm, I learned the rule: Where there's snow, there's traction. On this walk, I add a corollary: Where there's slush, there's slippage.
|... wet floors!|
Ian and Dave order their sandwiches. I'm tempted to celebrate with the season's newest beverage -- peppermint hot chocolate -- but I hold off. Really, I haven't even worked out yet!
On the way back, the guys are anxious to dry out their shoes and eat their lunches before they have to return to work. But they're also excellent sports. They stand by patiently while I try big steps and small steps, spot the tracks of a baby bird, and bury my boots in yet another pile of snow.
|They even pose for a selfie :)|
By the time we reach the rehab parking lot, there's only one thing left to do...
First snowball in 3 years -- and I'm just WARMING UP!
Mile Marker 1471 (Snowstorm #3):
When the third snowstorm hits, I don't set foot outside. (In fact, I don't even put on my shoes!)
Six friends. Two ovens. A ridiculous number of ingredients.
Nine hours of measuring and stirring and rolling.
TEN amazingly different cookies!
Donna sets up an ingredient station, a work station, and a cooling station. She somehow keeps the sink from piling up with dishes. And through it all, she bakes chocolate chip walnut, chocolate chip peanut butter, and chocolate mint chip cookies.
Rupesh bakes 4 huge loaves of almond biscotti.
Helen goes hi-tech with online recipes for gingerbread and sugar cookies.
|Ready for a true apocalypse!|
We even have a coffee bar, thanks to Mike, our official "taster."
|Mark stops by for a taste|
Apparently the aroma reaches all the way to Northern Liberties!
When the flakes settle, Snowstorm #3 produces nearly A THOUSAND COOKIES.
And what's more? Walking from apartment to apartment, from bowl to oven, I log more than TWO MILES -- in socks!
Three snowstorms in one week?? Whew!
Philly's in a SNOW DAZE, all right.
Summer may be miles away, but with the right mixture of friends, flakes, and footprints to follow, there are lots of ways to keep WARM!