This last weekend I went up to the cottage with the family, my inlaws and some friends. In the days leading up to the trip we checked the weather and found that the weekend was going to be full of rain with perhaps a dash of snow at the end. We grumbled and groused about how we were going to be kept inside all weekend and fussed that we had picked the worst possible weekend to try to be in the outdoors and far away.
True to prediction it rained all the way up north. On Saturday the rain got more serious and we only got outside when Elli decided that she was going to go out and wander around in her rubber boots and adults were needed to go out with her. After a very short trip outside Wendy came back in to report that the road was incredibly slippery, covered in a 4 centimeter layer of ice and then coated on top by a slick of water from the constant rain. Not only that but Elli had had a fall with the first step she took onto the road.
"Nobody could walk on that road without falling down."
Now I, as a certified man, can't let such a challenge go by. Were I to not rush out immediately and walk, run and slide around on a road deemed impossible I would be forever stamped a sissy-boy and would be unable to show my face in public henceforth. The question is not whether I will go out and challenge this insurmountable obstacle (I will), nor whether Wendy understands that I will do this (she understands) but rather did she decide to phrase it that way just to get me to do it or not? She knows that telling me that a thing cannot be done is the surest way to convince me to do it but it is not clear whether she uses that fact to manipulate my foolish, primitive man-brain or not. Regardless, the thing must be attempted.
I wandered out onto the road and was quite amazed at how well it lived up to its billing. I did not fall but I can certainly attest to the fact that the road was a very smooth, thick slick of ice covered with a fresh layer of water and was treacherous in the extreme. I can also attest to the fact that I ran up and down the road, feet slipping and sliding every which way, trying ski poles, downhill sliding, and running in place to see where the greatest thrill and danger might lie. After a few minutes of wandering around looking rather silly we decided to go for a walk in the rain. We all wandered out into the forest and had a good long hike through slushy snow while the rain continued to fall. Luckily the paths were groomed by local snowmobile enthusiasts (aka those damn kids and their infernal machines) and we actually managed to avoid submerging ourselves significantly. After awhile we wandered back home and Elli got treated to hot chocolate. Though I do try to curtain her intake of sweets I think the tradition of a warm, sweet drink after exercise in the cold and rain is a tradition with little enough risk.
By the end of the weekend the snow had come down in significant amounts, leaving the roads very safe and solid and the world a wonderland of laden branches and hidden treasures. Despite the 'bad weather' we enjoyed the outdoors very much and I think many of us could benefit from remembering that lesson. The weather, like most things, is only as bad as we let it be. Believing that a rainstorm is an opportunity rather than an obstacle seems like a recipe for happier living.