Winter seems to have concentrated itself in late February. We've had lots of snow... plenty to shovel, build snow forts in, and send some of us off into the woods on skis.... There have many lovely discoveries, including O's skating abilities!
I've been thinking about it for the last several years, but this year I managed to not wait too long. I finally bought myself some cross-country ski equipment. I grew up X-country skiing, but shifted to downhill in high school and college, mostly to be social. When I blew my left knee out on an icy slope in 1988, I gave up downhill and shied away from any skiing at all. But I missed the cross-country and with a high level of caution (that unfortunately seems to come easily to me) I can still do it, bum left knee, aching right leg and all. I've been out a few times in the years since and meant to buy skis as soon as we moved back to Michigan, but for a variety of reasons (most of them involving the existence of kids) I didn't...until this year.
On Friday, I headed out into the snowy, windy afternoon for a few safe miles at County Farm Park. Then, on Saturday, I did more miles at Kensington Metro park with AB. It doesn't give me the speed of mountain biking, but it does get me out into the woods, and that was really my goal. I still haven't gotten to the off-the-beaten-trail experience I crave and my form sucks, but it has been fun and will hopefully help me not mind the end of winter or Hank, Jr. so much.
Why the silence? Because the cyst is back. And that is not how it is supposed to be. The jury is still out on why Hank, Jr. is there -- but the MRI done 5 weeks post surgery and the pain that re-emerged around 3-4 weeks post-surgery indicate that something is there -- something about 1/4 the size of the original Hank. So now we wait. Wait and see what an MRI in late March says. And then we talk about 1)living with the pain, 2)doing more surgery or 3)things no one has come up with yet. So, for now, I live in limbo and try not to think about it too much but of course I do think about it, esp. on nights like tonight, when the house is quiet and the possibilities so unknown.
Tom on Shadow; me riding Major. It always thrilled me that he let me ride the bigger horse.
My great uncle died on Sunday. He was a quiet guy with a somewhat gruff manner and that sometimes made me unsure of myself in his presence -- if we tried to talk. But I probably spent more time with him than with anyone else during our visits when I was a kid. As my mom likes to tell it, when my family pulled into their driveway in Holly, Uncle Tom had his boots on before our car had come to a complete stop. He and I went straight to the barn, groomed the horses, and went for a ride. Then we'd tend the sheep, maybe visit the pigs up the road, put the dog through her paces, and say hi to barn cats. That I was quiet around him and passionate about animals (which extended to helping muck out stalls and tend the tack) meant that we got along just fine in the end. RIP, Uncle Tom.