Cold run, warm memories

Jan 4, 2002

I stepped out into the cold morning on a day bright with sunshine, and felt great. Up in Cleveland, I could never get myself to go out for a run in the frigid air, but yesterday and today I was drawn outside. I ran on the iced-over streets, past trees covered in snow. Over the last two days, our area received about 12 inces of fluffy white snow, and, I must say, the outdoors are beautiful in the mantle of white. While most people stayed home and indoors today, there were a few SUVs on the road with me.

I ran south, on country roads that cross over a lake, a creek, past fields and wooded hills, and as I ran, I remembered a winter day when I was in high school.

Northern Illinois got socked with snow and an immediate deep freeze, and DeKalb was shut down and people admonished to stay indoors and out of the minus 20 degree air. Dad and I bundled up nevertheless, and hiked up the middle of the streets into town for ham-and-cheese omelets at Lincoln Inn Restaurant. I don’t remember the conversation that day, but I imagine both of us longed for the heat of the tropics even as we enjoyed the briskness of the cold.

After I stepped out of the apartment, but before I hit the streets for my run, I swept the wood walkway of snow. I regularly sweep the landing. This is a habit I formed in the Peace Corps: I’d wake each morning, walk down the path toward the sea to feed Mr. Sugar the pig, collect a few fallen limes on my way back, then race Geo the dog back up to our tin-roofed house in the shade of the giant breadfruit trees. Then I’d grab the rake or the palm broom and clear the yard around our house of the breadfruit leaves that had fallen during the night.

When I was done, I’d look up toward the village to see old woman and young children doing the same sweeping, cleaning the village for a new day. Now when I sweep the landing, I can smell the moist, green air of Liro Village, and I’m ready to go about my day.

Anton Zuiker

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