Breaking Trail

| 12/31/2013 8:37:00 AM

The trail leading from the town road to our cabinOur shed is the keeper of the seasons: it holds a whole year within its four walls. The tools of warmer weather, the window screens of summer, the extra ball jars for canning time, seasonal clothes, odds & ends of lumber, a chimney brush. The detritus of projects and the components of dreams lay tucked alongside each other in a delicate, tetris-like, storage system.

There are also skis (for Ryan.) And snowshoes (for me).

About mid-December, I took my snowshoes out of the shed. They had been neatly stored under an extra bench, collecting dust and some sawdust and sand that traveled with wind and time.

The first real snowstorm had left almost a foot of powder on the ground: it was time to break trail. A trail from the shed to the cabin, from the cabin to the woodpile, to the compost pile, to the outdoor thermometer on the north side of the apple tree, to the privy… a few laps to each had the snow tamped down. They were now walkable, without snow finding its way up our pant legs or into the tops of our boots.

The real trail to break, though, was from the cabin out to the town road. A little more than 1/3 of a mile, this is the commute that begins and ends any trip away from home. The quality of this path will be a work in progress from now until mud season, changing every day with the weather, our usage, and the footsteps of winter walkers and cabin visitors.

So Ryan and I headed out together, a two-person caravan on snowshoes. Though Ryan vastly prefers skis to his ‘slowshoes,’ his skis prefer a broken trail. So instead of shoveling a walkway or plowing a driveway, we walk.

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