Winter Morning

I cannot decide if these winter mornings are terribly beautiful or beautifully terrible.

The air feels cleaner and more refreshing, but I’m not able to breathe it in as deeply.

The light is low, still it’s not dark. Illumination seeps both from above, reflected off the low gray clouds — and below, from the snowy surfaces.

The footing for my running shoes is not as sure, in all the ice and slush, but I have the city to myself.

It’s kind of awful. Kind of awesome. Ultimately, I’m glad to be doing it.

Here’s one strategy I’ve devised to cope with the cold: I prefer to start my runs with a tailwind and finish into a headwind. I stay warmer in the early going, when my blood is just starting to pump through my body — and I get the coolest conditions when my body is at its warmest.

One of my serendipitous coincidences about finishing with my face into the west wind is the way that the condensation from my lungs crystallizes onto my beard. It has to be 10° Fahrenheit or colder for this phenomenon to happen, but that’s part of what makes it so special.

It hurts to be so exposed to such cold temperatures. But somehow it makes me feel more alive.

As I run these winter mornings, I’m thinking and praying about new rhythms for the new year, just as my feet crunch their rhythm in the snow. It’s squeaky and awkward, but kind of neat in its own way.

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