It’s five degrees outside, and my running partner is in Florida. I stand at the door, looking at the thermometer, pondering. The dogs need to go out, so I open the door and step outside. It’s surprisingly lovely. The sunshine is inviting and the birds twitter to me, saying it’s not really so cold. I know they’re lying, but I resolve to do it anyway.
My running buddy texts me, saying, “Ran in shorts and a t-shirt but my thumbs were cold.” I scowl and growl as I put on two pairs of pants, a running skirt, two pairs of socks, three shirts, a fleece, and plenty of gear to cover my hands and face. Out the door I go.
The air is crisp and clear, and despite the cold, I inhale deeply. The action of my muscles warms me. The sun beams out of a cloudless blue, and as I reach the intersection that marks the halfway point, birds chirp from their hiding places, encouraging me onward.
No one else is outside on this cold morning. Even the cars seem to hide in their garages. If I had stayed in, though, I’d have missed seeing the family of ducks gliding through the frigid river, and hearing the downy woodpecker tattooing an irregular rhythm in the topmost branches of a hackberry tree.
The wind kicks up as if to tell me to quit dawdling, hurry home. I oblige, picking up the pace for the last quarter mile and pulling my hat more securely over my ears. Back home now, it’s tempting to stay out, so I relax for a few minutes in the lawn swing, wondering what the neighbors would say if they saw. But nature calls in another way, so I breathe in the fresh air once more, and head back into the house.