I’ve always loved the Frost poem for which this is the opening line, and it came to mind yesterday as I was walking through a local wood here in St. Paul. Thanks to the polar vortex, we’re just beginning to emerge from the longest, coldest period here in Minnesota in twenty-five years. Day after day, the sky is a beautiful cornflower blue and when I’m outside, my breath is the same color as the snow under my boots. Despite the bitter cold, I’ve been committed to walking every day. In the last week, I’ve spent several afternoons outside when the wind chill was nearing 30 below. I’m blessed with a down parka that holds in my body heat, but I admit that my toes are a bit frigid by the end.
I walk in this cold for a couple of reasons. First of all, I want the weather to control my life as little as possible. Here in the North Country, we’re used to the cold, even the bitterest, and we pride ourselves on going about our business as usual, even at 30 below. But also, I feel so very good after I’ve walked. Our connection with the natural world is one of the greatest spiritual uplifts imaginable, and when I’m in a wood, yellow or not, I feel as if my soul is being fed.
I know that so many Americans are struggling right now to deal with this winter blast and all the terrible challenges that it presents. It is, indeed, life threatening. Still, I hope that wherever you are, you’re able to find a way to connect with all the beautiful energy of nature as well. I hope that you are able to find a way to feed your soul.