Get Outside: ‘Your nose and toes may be freezing, but you’ll feel baby, you’ll feel’

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Dan Heeter and Sir Luc of Dover

By Susan Dromey Heeter, Joyful Musings

Baby, it’s cold outside.

And as I write today’s Joyful Musings, I think fondly of Alaska, a venue in which I had the opportunity to live for three years.  I am often asked, “Wow, was it really cold?” Yes, my friends, it was.

Susan Dromey Heeter

And if you want to know what it’s like to live in Alaska, simply go outside today.  Breathe. Feel  the frigid air rush up your nose, listen to the squeaking snow  beneath your feet, try the impossible task of moving the welcome mat embedded in front of your door. You are in Alaska, my friends, the Last Frontier.

But, more importantly than just standing in the cold, go out and move in it. Put on that coat you have, those gloves, that hat and get outside. If I learned nothing else in Anchorage, it was the importance of, no matter what the temperature, get outside – if not for long, if only for a bit.

Skate. Ski. Walk. Cover your face, of course, but take off your pajamas and get outside, beneath the sky.  Muse joyfully on your senses – your nose and toes may be freezing, but you’ll feel. You’ll feel, baby, you’ll feel.

And Alaska allowed a lot of feeling and lots of reminders that, no matter what, it’s vital to get out.  Cabin fever is real. God knows, this week has given me a great deal of time with my little family. They are lovely but I shall grab my buddy Luc and head out to the beach soon – we both need a reprieve.  I’ll put on my Sorels, a myriad of socks, mittens and a face mask.

It’s important to layer and leave fashion behind.

A dog is a lovely companion in these temps. I know Luc is already to go – has his fur coat at the ready and we are off.  In Alaska, our trusty Lab, Max was quite adept at Skijouring – that is when you attach a leash to your dog’s harness and s/he carries you along. It’s low impact cross country skiing – Max was not always adept but it did allow some fun outdoor time.

I’m enclosing a picture of my lovely husband, Dan, challenged by Max’s directional confusion. Alas, it got us outside; I remember that day among the hundreds I spent in Alaska because it was spent in the elements. Freezing. Yes, ice on our eyelashes, but outside, baby, outside.

And I remember days outside. In February, the Fur Rendezvous takes place in Anchorage and includes an ice skating contest on Westchester Lagoon. I came in second while racing in my figure skates.  Yes. Second. I have no idea where my ribbon is but I do have that memory of a fabulously quick race. I am a legend in my own mind and ready for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

And may you muse joyfully on these frigid temps and embrace rather than complain. There is so much to do – here in New Hampshire, there in Alaska.  And the best part of going outside?  Coming in from the cold. Ah, nothing better.

I muse joyfully on the warmth of my glasses fogging up, on a hot cup of tea, on embracing that new electric blanket received for Christmas. Bliss.

Be well, friends, bundle up and celebrate the cold.

 Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, writes “Joyful Musings” for Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters.  Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal  in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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