New Year’s Eve Walk Around the Lake
I was mentally and physically incapable of reading anything this morning. Mentally, I was exhausted; physically, I was not up to the work of reading. As I’ve discovered, sitting still for hours, reading and taking notes, is physical labour. When I was younger, it was easier. Now it makes my knees ache: the same feeling I get when I’m crammed into an economy-class seat on a transatlantic flight. Google tells me this condition is called chondromalacia, that it’s caused by the breakdown of cartilage under the kneecap. The point is that sitting for hours reading and writing hurts. And this morning I needed a day off. My goal was to reach 125 texts by Monday, when classes begin again. 130 would be even better: that would be 10 books or articles for each month I’ve been working at this project. But I might not get there. I need a rest.
Christine and I left to walk around the lake about noon. We followed the path on the south side of the lake. We met a friendly man with an equally friendly silver Labrador retriever named Striker. We saw lots of people enjoying the sunshine and the mild temperatures. At this time of year, temperatures in the minus single digits is a gift, especially if the sun is out. There is an ice rink in a flooded parking lot, and it was pretty busy. There was a time when we could skate on the lake, but since the aeration equipment was installed to keep the lake from smelling like rotten eggs when the ice melts in the spring, it’s no longer safe. We stopped at the café where we always stop, the Naked Bean, for coffee and something to eat. Then Christine headed home, and I headed for the east side of the lake.
Once you cross Broad Street, there are always fewer people in the park; all the action is on the west side. I saw a kid wearing a bright red MAGA hat cross-country skiing: perhaps a true believer, home from college in the States, hoping to scandalize people here with his support for the Impeached One? I saw runners and walkers. “You’ve got to get out in this weather while we’ve got it,” one woman told me. Oh, yes. The weather could turn any day now, leaving a balmy day like this one a memory. Remember, minus 30 would be a more seasonable temperature. I was surprised to see something new: the paved trail has been extended past the city’s one hill. How did I miss that? When did I last walk this way? Six months ago? The Provincial Capital Commission has been busy. I’m not a huge fan of paved trails, but it’s safer than walking on the narrow road, and that’s an improvement.
The sky started to cloud over just as magic hour began. My back was starting to hurt from the exercise, another sign that I need to get away from my desk more often. I called Christine. “Want to meet at the pub for a New Year’s Eve drink?” I asked. She did. I left the park and walked up Albert Street. We met and toasted the end of 2019. Then we headed for home.
Best wishes for a happy 2020 to everyone reading this. I hope next year brings you what you’re hoping for. It’s going to bring me a lot of work, but I’m pretty sure I’m up to the task–as long as my knees hold out.