A 12 inch surprise, snowflakes swirling in the wind all night long, leaving sensual swoops on rooftops, driveways drifted shut.
This morning I set out for a walk on my usual path, on the neighborhood sidewalks, which should be passable today, a full day after the storm. Most of the sidewalks were neat, with a skiff of snow providing traction (better than Tuesday's icy layer I trod upon). But the street corners! Huge mounds of snow from city plows, blocking easy passage. I stepped up and slid down several, enjoying the challenge.
Along the way, I encountered pristine patches of sidewalk in front of homes for sale and abandoned rentals. I knew I would face more uncleared territory along a swath of public-owned land alongside the lakeshore.
I was not daunted.
Perhaps I should have been. The previous picture is the end of my uncleared path, where a natural valley in the drifting made for easy passage. In other spots, however, I would sink down to my knees, and rise up, only to find myself sinking in a few inches the next step. I sought firmer packed snow in the detritus of snow plows, or shallower snow on the edge of a drift. But mostly, for a good quarter mile, I trudged deeply, and slowly, practicing the mountain-climber step: one step, breathe/rest, next step, breathe/rest. I paused to snap photos of the majesty of waves and icebergs, of blue sky and sunshine battling with grey and clouds. I despaired at moments, looking around me for an easier path.
There was none.
The road I was walking next to is busy, and the wet streets no place for pedestrian traffic. I could turn around, but I was close to home.
The only way out is through, sings Alanis Morissette.
And the rewards: gorgeous vistas, a cardio workout like no other, the cool breeze waking me, the sun inspiring me, the strength of my legs humbling me.