Let me tell you about the last cup of tea I had. The steaming liquid was poured from a friend’s thermos as we huddled in our snow-made chairs atop a ridge. It was a short but steep jaunt from the path, but the hard work was rewarded with both a great view and precious sunshine for our lunch break.
We’d reached our destination by snowshoe on this mid-January date, following days and days of heavy snowfall. So much that our sedan was no match for an unplowed forestry road, and we quickly rerouted from Peachland to the Trans Canada Trail in Summerland.
Snow can change any landscape, and boy, do we need a change of scenery. The dark days of winter can wreak havoc on our spirits, but being housebound during the pandemic can really put you into a mental fog.
And then the real stuff rolls in, suffocating the Valley in a grey soup.
Rise up, I say. That is, head up the mountains and just go play.
As Jane Thornton, Canada Research Chair in injury prevention and physical activity for health at Western University, says “embrace your inner Winter Olympian.”
“The pandemic has been limiting in many ways, but throughout it one of the freedoms available to many people has been to exercise outside,” she says. “And that is what did it for me: the need to get outside daily, breathe air outside of masks, create space and feel normal again.”
You don’t have to be a slopestyle superstar to enjoy the otherness of winter. But I promise you, it’s a whole new world.
As I drive up to Telemark above Glenrosa in West Kelowna, I hit a deep fogbank mid-mountain. Wrapping around the dark forest, it’s mystic, magical and definitely attention-grabbing as I navigate the final curves.
Suddenly, the fog clears. Blue skies and bright sunshine await me and my cross-country skis. There are paths to explore, slopes to scale, and hills to glide down.
Now, here’s some unpredictability that offers a thrill, rather than adding to the stress.
When temperatures drop, let the adrenaline of adventure warm you up.
COVID-19 has left us sheltering in place, and very afraid. Eli Sopow, professor of change management at University Canada West has researched how a state of fear can trigger anger, outrage, a disintegration of trust and even civility. We’re fearing COVID and we’re fearing change.
He foreshadows 2022 as a year of intense “fight, flight and freeze.”
I say, let’s put a different spin on those words. Don a pair of skates or skis and just slide — because even if it’s just for that moment, life will have some ease.