23 January 2002

Though I've been out of my routine since finals in December, I do try to go jogging a few times a week in the park at the end of our street. And when I say "jogging," I mean trail-jogging up and down winding paths, across rocks, over fallen logs, through the woods, and down by the creek.

You see, though we live well within the city limits of Philadelphia, in an urban row-house, in the midst of an older ethnic neighborhood, the park at the end of our street is 4180 acres of wooded land that runs along both sides of the Wissahickon Creek and the Schuylkill River.
I usually go jogging with our dog, Dominicanus (who answers to "Nicky") and we have a grand time, especially when he gets to chase some portion of the vast quantities of deer.

Today the trails were a bit treacherous, though, covered with a couple of inches of slush and ice leftover from the weekend's snowstorm. It forced me to take care to place each footfall carefully, jamming my toes into loose snow, lest I go sliding into the mud, or worse, down a rock face or into the creek.

Jogging in snow is actually quite exhausting. I usually jog for about 40-45 minutes and then cool down with a 10-15 minute walk the rest of the way home. But today I felt like I had done my usual run after only 25 minutes or so, though I pressed on a bit longer anyway.

Still, it was well worth it. I had the woods more to myself than usual due, no doubt, to the conditions. That, however, meant more wildlife, greater opportunity to gaze at the stark branches of the barren trees, time to note the patterns of ice on the boulders and the way the brown dried summer growth poked up through the crusty snow. And the fresh crisp air kept me alert, even as it slightly burned my throat as I breathed it.

I can't imagine ever choosing to workout in some enclosed gym, moist with sweat and the odor of overheated people, manipulating strange machines of plastic and iron.

Nicky and I will stick with our park.