Now that the sun is setting earlier, I've traded in my evening bike rides for evening runs. Nanuq needs his exercise, after all, and walking just doesn't allow him to burn enough energy.
Last night, as Fawn and I were driving home from Big Band practice, I remembered that Nanuq still needed to let off some steam. Normally, that wouldn't be a big issue, but heavy, wet snow was dropping out of the sky, coating the roads with inches of sloppy slush. I didn't want to soak my running shoes, so I decided that we would have to downgrade to a walk.
I donned my poncho and my insulated rubber boots and we set out for the trails.
We walked towards a route that I only take on occasion. It's a lumpy, seldom-used trail and not the best for walking at night, but the distant lights from the airport parking lot were reflecting off the falling snow and illuminating the path.
As we walked, I heard sirens. Lots and lots of police and probably ambulance and maybe fire truck sirens were zooming back and forth across the city. The sirens went on for about twenty minutes. I don't know what happened, but I'm guessing it involved somebody(s) forgetting how to drive when the road is covered in snow.
My glasses were getting coated by the sticky stuff falling from the sky. I was glad to be wearing my poncho and rubber boots. The trail was slippery in spots, but I didn't care. I was actually enjoying the walk. Other than a few old tracks in the slush, Nanuq and I had the trail to ourselves. The sirens had stopped and the only sounds I could hear were our own slush-splashing footsteps and the gentle thuds of heavy falling snow.
Further along, I noticed that something on the barely-used trail had changed. The trail is usually damp and soft, being in a somewhat marshy area, but I'd never seen it so damp that I actually splashed when I walked over the matted grass. Knowing it would get worse as I walked towards the generally softer and damper area ahead, I opted to leave the trail and shortcut back to my neighbourhood.
That was a mistake.
It started off well enough. My good ol' poncho shielded me from a good soaking from the slush-covered willows and I walked on hummocks of willow and grass towards the high ground.
Then, the hummocks started sinking when I stepped on them. Somehow, so much water had collected in the area, that the little islands of grass and willow and moss were floating. I could feel them shift when I stepped on them. Instead of turning back, I pushed onward, looking for the largest, most stable places to step that I could find.
The base of one of the willows sunk under my feet and I could feel a rush of surprisingly warm water filling my rubber boot.
I took another step to another patch of seemingly higher ground and the same thing happened with the other foot.
I made it out of mini Atlantis, eventually. When I did, I stopped to pour the water out, but the insulation in those boots really sucks up the moisture. Barely a trickle came out. My boots were still heavy with water.
"Oh, well," I thought as I trudged home in my water-logged boots, "At least I kept my running shoes dry."
"Did you get your feet wet last night?" Fawn asks me this morning as I attempt to snuggle further under the blanket and steal a little more sleep. She's sitting on the end of the bed, dressed for work.
"Yeah," I mumble, "Why?"
"Because I took out the compost. I used your boots."
She should have known better. It's my job to take out the compost.