Sometimes, when the snow is thick on the ground, as it is this morning, and the cold air is full of wind-blown ice and sleet, as it also is this morning, and the house is warm and the cupboards are full of food, I look enquiringly at my dog, hoping that she might feel like me, but she sits neatly, waiting patiently, and her eyes never once break contact with mine, and I know she still wants to go out and get wet.
She has no pity.
I can’t be positive all the time, I can’t always see and feel the beauty and delight in being cold and wet. I don’t always want to make walking even harder than it is normally. Deep snow is hard work for tired legs, and pulling my sticks out of the snow at every step soon loses its novelty.
The snow is not going to kill me. Pneumonia, or falling down the stairs, will do that. So I just have to shrug my shoulders and prepare to do battle. There are three enemies to face, and the odds are uneven. The first is the weather, of course, but the next two are much more difficult to fight – my mind, and my body.
I am reminded of a quotation by Mohammed Ali, the great heavyweight boxer, that – and I am working from memory here – it’s not the distant mountain peaks you are going to that cause you problems, it’s the stone in your shoe.
It’s another, and much more poetic, way of saying don’t sweat the small stuff, even though you might feel the the small stuff is crippling you. For me, this morning, the prospective walk in the snow is the pebble in my shoe. It’s stopping me looking up to see the beauty of the mountains.
So take it out, stupid!