Tag Archives: Winter

Winter Walk

aaIMG_9959Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I did something silly today. I weighed myself. It was such a foolish stunt to try so soon after Christmas and two weeks of being pretty much snowed/iced in. I guess the silver lining is it’s not as high as it usually is this time of year. I’m really thankful for those 200 miles of walking I did last September to finish my City Saunter project right about now! I have realized that since I completed my walking project I’ve really missed the walking I was doing. I’m not sure why I didn’t keep it up. Today’s weigh in plus a new lens waiting for me at the East Lansing post office was the perfect incentive for a nice winter walk. I decided to walk the Lansing River Trail starting at the trail head south of Kalamazoo St. It’s one of my favorite locations and not too far from my house.aaIMG_0023Snow covered Bridge on Lansing River Trail ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I was very happy to find that the parking area was plowed and there were three other cars there. I am often amazed by Lansing’s exercising community. After dressing for the adventure, placing my lens in my pockets (I like winter because of the extra pockets!) and ducking into the strap of my camera, I pulled up my mapmyrun app on my phone (boy this is feeling a lot like a City Saunter) and started down the path.  Unfortunately the cleared path was short lived and soon I was trekking through a foot of snow. It must have been a Lansing Township lapse because the trail cleared off again and remained that way for the rest of my walk. Today was still quite chilly. The expected high is 17 but I think the wind chill is still pretty close to zero. I would have been just fine except I had forgotten to put on long john’s and I kept taking my gloves off to take photos. Even so, I was able to walk 3 miles in the woods on the river trail.aaIMG_9892 Frozen Branches on Red Cedar River  ©Ariniko Artistry 2014aaIMG_9906Frozen Branches on Red Cedar River ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I have always loved the serenity of a winter walk. I love to cross country ski and would head out to Lake Lansing North and ski the trails. There are not nearly as many people out this time of year and many times you are the only one. On this walk I only past two others, both runners. For much of this walk I was alone. On the way back I actually became numb and the cold no longer bothered me. I found myself wading into the deeper snow for better photos and even stopping and listening to the sounds. Even though there weren’t any people out there I found quite a few animals out and about. At one point I was hearing this loud rustling sound and couldn’t figure it out. Finally I looked up and there were squirrels in the tree tops scurrying about.aaIMG_0002Squirrel in trees on Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

I also found woodpeckers and ducks.aaIMG_9978  Woodpecker in tree on Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014aaIMG_9942Ducks in the Red Cedar off the Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014aaIMG_9925Duck in the Red Cedar off the Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

A friend of mine who recently moved to Ludington posted on Facebook the quote: “No such thing as bad weather…. just bad gear.” I think I would have to agree with him. We live in a gorgeous land, where we have different environments all the time. I think it’s a shame not to enjoy them.aaIMG_9939Red Cedar off the Lansing River Trail by Aurelius Rd. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

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Lifting the Fog

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When snowfall and thunderstorms meet on a crazy night in mid Michigan it creates fog; dense, thick fog. I was so captivated by its etherealness I decided to go walk in it. My house sits in a bit of a gully, between multiple hills. I joke, but to get to my house from any direction you have to go uphill and then downhill. My walk to Meijer is literally uphill both ways and I’m not saying that in a Parks and Rec kind of way. It takes a while for the snow to melt around our house, even on a 50 degree day. Yesterday was no exception. All around my house and yard was this super thick fog yet as I drove to Lansing the fog became thinner and more sporadic. I realized the melting snow had ended any hope of walking and photographing the fog. However due to a few events there was still a very odd feel to this walk. The first was a horrific car crash that happened on I-496. The accident itself occurred at around 7:00 a.m., however as I drove past at around 11:00 a.m. the entire 5 lane highway was abandoned. The only thing on the highway was the 5 crashed cars and a completely burned out 6th car. Two police cars were positioned to block any car that might have made it onto the highway that somehow got through multiple road blocks further up. There were no movements. Had I not read about the crash on line I would have been really shocked by this scene. However knowing that a life had been lost in this tragic crash also left me feeling quite upset by having passed it.
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found at the corner of Donora and Mt. Hope. The letter is written from a son whose father was tragically killed.

Then on my exit off the highway I came right up alongside one of the folks that ask for money. Whether their decision to stand there comes from true need or some type of scam, seeing them there often saddens me. I still get tears thinking about last Thanksgiving when our entire family, dressed in our fancy clothes, and joyously talking to each other about the great meal we were about to consume at grandma’s house drove by this woman on the side of the road. Her sign read; “Pregnant and homeless, please help”. It wasn’t so much what her sign said as it was the day in which she stood there. Here it was a holiday of thanksgiving, a day to be grateful. And here she stood all alone, in the cold. Didn’t she have family? Did she have no one to cook for her? The sadness overwhelmed me and I burst into tears. We drove back around the corner and my husband got out and handed her $5 after I insisted we do something. Maybe I played into the game. Maybe I should have had a stiff upper lip and told her to go learn to fish instead of handing her one. I couldn’t. I wanted her to know that someone cared. I wanted her to know that someone saw her and acknowledged her on this Thanksgiving Day.
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So here again, I sat for a seemingly endless time trying to avoid the gaze of this man, praying for him and hoping he could find what he needed.
My final unusual event was actually a positive one. As I walked along my walk, finishing off sections of a neighborhood I mostly had walked before, disappointed by my inability to capture gorgeous, foggy photos, I found a hidden treasure. I’d heard of them before and had no idea I was sauntering my way towards one. Up ahead of me amongst a sea of browns and dismal grays sat a large mailbox, practically glowing in bright rainbow colors.
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Except it wasn’t just any ordinary mailbox. It was a library! I had stumbled across a Little Free Library!
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This little gem completely changed my mood. It reminded me quite a lot of my Finding Rainbows blog.
So today’s moral is; lift the fog. Look around you and find the joys, even the little ones. Be aware of those around you. Pay attention to those in need. Can you help? Did you try? Lift the fog and enjoy life! Grieve the losses as it makes you appreciate what you have all the more. And when something really great comes along, revel in your blessing then reach in and grab at it.
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On Top of the World

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The end of every year is a flurry of activity. We have the multiple day Christmas celebrations, which may include at least one day before and or after the actual day. Sometimes, if it’s a crazy busy year we might even have a celebration the week before. Then the fifth day after Christmas is my birthday. This is what I call the eve, of the eve of the New Year. For over a decade now I’ve celebrated the eve of the eve with my in-law siblings. We usually take in a movie, most times a meal as well. It’s always a good time. However, by the time I get my thinking back it’s the last day of the year and I’ve made no plans; never! We try to make plans but nothing culminates. This year we had a set of good coupons; Free Biggby Coffee, $10 Kohl’s bucks and $10 off from a $30 purchase at World Market. What a better way to end the year than with free stuff!! Unfortunately the stress of trying to fit it all in with two kids that haven’t eaten a balanced meal in a week, overwhelmed us. By the time we got home the grown-ups were annoyed with each other. Being self employed means you get to decide when you don’t work but also allows you to work on a normal holiday. So off Pat went to work.

Fine.

I then decided to take the twins on my last walk for the year. Nothing too much, maybe we could find a park. I checked out the map and sure enough there was Poxson Park. I could walk the streets while they played.
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After playing on a giant climbing rock for about an hour Ellie finally made it to the top and yells out as loudly as she can; “I’m on top of the world!!!!” She has so much excitement; so much happiness; so freeing. Her youthful voice echoed off every house in the neighborhood. At first I thought to hush her; don’t bother the neighbors. Then I was like, forget that! I wanted everyone to know that I’d dragged my kids out of the safety and warmth of our house and we were playing. We were laughing as we formed palm-sized snowballs and chased each other around that fake boulder. After a good snowball fight we then went for a walk through the park. When we made it back to the car they made mini snowmen to take home and begged me to make them hot cocoa as soon as we got home.
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I am so grateful that they never let me forget that I really am on top of the world.
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Happy, Happy New Year everyone!
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