I think sometime last week marked the moment in 2011 when I passed the psychological threshold past which I am done with winter. It happens every year. Winter turns from exciting to a burden. Feel like scraping frost off the car? Waking up in the dark? Worrying over clothing layers? Thinking that you really do need to pull on the wind briefs or risk... well, consequences? Yeah, me neither. My mind has turned to dry trails in the mountains, bike wheels spinning on pavement, running with shorts and bare legs, mornings sitting on the porch, bathed in sunlight, drinking coffee and watching the thermometer start its steady climb to hot. I know, that last one is a pipe dream in Anchorage even in the thick of summer. Try sitting out on our porch in July and you'll find your coffee quickly cooling as you swat at mosquitoes thriving in the cool and steady shade. Such are the affects of well treed lots, northern latitudes, and coastal moderation. Maybe that is why C and I booked tickets to southern New Mexico, departing in a few months. If our timing is right, we should have plenty of sunny and warm mornings. If our timing is bad, we'll be sand blasted by spring winds. Either way, there will be chile to eat, so we win.
It is interesting that I can pass this threshold while still enjoying all that winter brings. Last weekend, C and I ran a great 10k loop on snowy single track, packed solid by fat bikers. It included trails we probably wouldn't spend much time on in the summer, either because they turn to swamps or are closed to accommodate feeding bears. Being February, the sun was out and high enough to make a difference. Light poured through spruce and birch, branches bending under the weight of snow. We've been skiing regularly, making the most of the groomed trails. Indeed, I'll be sad to see the skiing go. But then, it still being February, we've actually got a lot of winter left. So those particular tears can go unshed for some time yet.
And speaking of skiing for awhile yet, anyone want to join our 24-hour ski race team? (http://www.skan24.blogspot.com/)
Long time readers may remember that this blog started as something of an online chemotherapy journal. I believe I last said I was going to do my best here to simply forget all about that particular chapter of my life. Nevertheless, in case anyone is interested, and particularly in case anyone diagnosed with NHL or otherwise facing his or her own chemo regime finds these pages as a result of a well crafted Google search, I though I would go on and provide an update anyway. We are about 3 1/2 months out from my last treatment. That was on November 3, 2010. It was probably the end of December before my system had purged and I started to feel like the drugs were no longer an anchor. It was actually pretty nice to feel like I was just out of shape and not that I was being smothered with giant wool blankets, as was usually the case before. I replaced my lost weight within a few weeks and have been getting stronger since. Remember how I said C and I have been getting out for frequent skis? Last December, I pretty much thought that was an impossibility and had written off the 2010/11 ski season entirely. Other than right now, sitting to type this update, I no longer think about chemo at all and have in fact largely forgotten its impacts. It is a good place to be. One threshold I'm glad to leave behind.
So, picture of last spring's flowers in anticipation of this spring: