Steam clouds rising as Lake Superior freezes

Steam clouds rising as Lake Superior freezes

The thermometer hovered around five degrees this afternoon.  I decided to break the outdoor commitment (Day # 24) into shorter segments of time outside rather than attempt a long walk or snowshoe. 

It started about 9:30 a.m. while brushing snow off the car.  My thoughts began to meander, in between shivers, “Do these five minutes of scraping off the car count as an outdoors experience?”  Later, in town, scurrying between the stores, the Mind began to subtract even further minutes.  However, mind you, I did venture outside for at least a half hour later in the afternoon!

Back to the morning thoughts.  I contemplated our ancestors and their opinion of a commitment to spend 365 days outside.  Can you imagine Grandpa or Grandma listening to you deciding to go outside everyday and write about it?  Can you imagine the look of disbelief on their faces? (And that doesn’t include trying to explain what a ‘computer’ and a ‘blog’ might be!)

By the time you even began to explain the philosophy behind this commitment, they had probably been outside all morning.  They would have fed the chickens, watered the horses and plowed half a field.  They may not have fathomed the development of our more sedentary society where spending precious hours outside did not necessarily happen every day.

This led to contemplation of the many folks who do spend hours and hours outside every day.  For many of them, it’s no big deal.  It’s just the way it is.  Plenty of people work outside.  There’s road construction workers, carpenters, farmers, surveyors, loggers, mail carriers…

“Ah, ha!” I thought, “We need  an accompanying photograph of someone working outside for this blog.”

With this realization forefront, I began cruising through our village (within the confines of the comfy car) looking for an Outdoor Worker.  I recalled seeing a postal worker earlier, carrying his bag of mail around town.  It’s rumored he walks dozens of miles daily.  Imagine that at five degrees! 

After a lap around the village, with no postal worker in sight, I noticed the steam rising up from the Keweenaw Bay.  Amazing beauty!  There’s already thick ice in the sheltered areas; new ice forms hourly.  Back in the car, looking for our Outdoor Worker, when….suddenly….there he is!

With crafty paparazzi cunning, I parked ahead of his next postal delivery site, and then determined where he might be headed next.  I leaped out of the car and stood nonchalantly next to the building in which he’d disappeared with his bag of mail.

“Hello,” we said cheerfully to each other as he emerged, before he headed across the street.  I began snapping photos of the back of him, just so you can ponder the everyday reality of someone spending his (or her) entire day outside.

Outdoor Worker (with his mail bag)

Outdoor Worker (with his mail bag)