February 27, 2010

Lake Michigan in Winter

Posted in Weather tagged , , , , at 8:10 am by Liliana

Lake Michigan in winter

Lake Michigan in winter

Dead of winter in Michigan – lots of snow, gusty winds, metallic sky, temperature in mid teens. It’s cold, the roads are treacherous, not pleasant to walk outside.

Still, I love to walk, especially along Lake Michigan. I find the lake beautiful at any time of year but in wintertime the character of the water becomes vastly different from what it is in more temperate seasons. It becomes transformed and magical, like something out of a fairy tale.

The sand and the snow embrace in tall drifts blown by fierce and unyielding wind. The tenacious wild lake grasses are holding on for dear life, and the sea gulls and sand pipers are nowhere to be seen. The water is frozen into silent, white ice sculptures for miles along the beach, but the sound of cold, angry waves beyond still make their presence preeminent.

I am wearing a sweater, a fleece jacket and a heavy winter coat. I have a woolen scarf wrapped around my neck and a warm hat on my head. My hands are hiding in heavy mittens. Still, the wind gets through all those layers and I feel it’s freezing breath on my skin. I am cold, but also energized and happy. To share this moment with the lake, the wind, the wide blue sky is a privilege and a gift.

February 7, 2010

Walking

Posted in Breast Cancer, Health, Hobbies tagged , at 8:51 am by Liliana

Walking

Walking

I am not a very athletic or outdoorsy person, and going to the gym or working out on complicated exercise machines is, for me, pure torture. But I love being in the sunlight and fresh air. And I love to walk.

Walking gives me a sense of tranquility and peace. The pace I set for myself is just right for the tempo of my thoughts. Walking with my dog Silver was most pleasant of all, and I will miss our excursions greatly now that she is gone. Placing one foot in front of another gives me a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Five years ago, during my chemo treatments for breast cancer, the most difficult part was my lack of energy to move around. I sat on the couch and looked outside at the world passing by. Once I started healing, I knew that walking would set me free. At first, I was so weak that I could hardly make it around our block. Sometimes my knees would give away and I would fall. But I would get up and try again. My neighbors commented on my walking, and cheered me on. Walking became synonymous with getting well. After my surgeries, I walked with the draining tubes in my pockets. My doctors laughed when I told them.

For Mother’s Day and other special occasions, my family knows how to make me happy. We’ll drive to one of the lovely metro parks in our area and go for a long hike. We’ll talk or just walk in meditative silence. In the shade of the trees by the river, we’ll sit and eat sandwiches and fruit, and drink hot coffee from a thermos. Then, rested and refreshed we’ll continue on.