Sole on Ice



“These are the times that try men’s souls,” thundered Thomas Paine in the first chapter of Common Sense.  The souls he was referring to, or course, were the American Revolutionary type, in particular those fellows who had just retreated rather ignominiously into the wilds of the Pennsylvania border country in order to escape (narrowly) the crack troops of General Howe.  That was another time and another interpretation of “soul.”  The “sole” under duress that comes to my mind these days is the one under my foot.  Both of them, in fact.

As all Upstaters know by now, winter ambushed us this year.  The winter solstice has not yet arrived, yet we’ve already suffered the slings and arrows of cold and snow in a rather unrelenting way.  Given current conditions I’ll be burning a large-sized bonfire on the 21st in an attempt to distract old Boreas from his mischief making.  All this snow and ice makes for treacherous travel when walking.  That’s tough enough.  But from the perspective of a runner and a great believer in athletic exercise in the outdoor air, negotiating the streets and sidewalks has the look of a long-term struggle this year, something akin to the wintry events on the Eastern Front during the big war.

While the local municipalities might have good intentions in mind when dousing the landscape with salt, the result is a glosh that is slicker than greased lightening.  There are plenty of moments when even Charlie Chaplin has nothing on my struggles to maintain balance in public.  Street corners can be extremely dangerous for everyone.   I’ve taken to grabbing onto anything or anyone and using them as a pivot to get going in a new direction without falling.

In spite of the odds against staying upright these days, I have learned one thing.  No matter how insurmountable the streets, my Woolx merino wool does its job at keeping me warm.  I may not be a pretty sight as I tumble and pinwheel down the street, but I know that whichever snow pile I land in I’ll be nice and toasty.