Around here, winter is long and ice is a fact of life. It coats our sidewalk, we scrape it from our cars, we feel it in our bones.
For some, it is a way to fly. The cold invigorates, the snow and ice provide wings that grass or pavement could never offer. For others, it’s a curse. Ice means slipping, slipping means falling, falling incites over cautiousness – a lightness of step that inevitably leads to another fall. Why invite trouble? I know a game we all like to play, stay safe small inside til the end of the day.
At my place of work, we encourage kids to go out, see the world, learn by doing. Cold and snow and ice are no reason to stay in. They are a fact of outdoor life. They are conditions that will be here forever so learn to thrive in them. I understand that not everyone was raised with this mentality. I myself spent many PE classes playing European handball in the gym because there was too much snow or rain to bother going outside. But luckily, I also had an outdoorsman for a father, a hill in the backyard that called me to slide along it until the spring thaw caught my sled in the mud, and the promise of a warm woodstove to dry my warm clothes by. I’ve fallen on ice more than once, and will likely fall again. But I know that if I remain sure of foot, I have a better chance of staying upright.
In my life, I, like many others, am guilty of giving up a pursuit because of a single defeat. But in acknowledging that short coming, I hope I’ve made some small step toward reparation. I don’t always rise from every fall, but I know that I can’t let fear of falling keep me immobile.