Snow washes away the stress and worry, brings calm, peace [Commentary]

I think I finally realized where my "peaceful place" is.

For some, it's the beach. For others, it may be a quiet room in the house.

Unfortunately, I'm at the whim of Mother Nature to get to that place where I feel totally at peace. It's out in the snow, while it's still falling.

I've always enjoyed getting outside while it's still snowing. I'm quick to shovel the driveway, even when I know there will be more to shovel in a few hours. I say it's because it's easier to shovel a few inches a couple times rather than a lot of inches one time (I'm pretty sure my dad put that in my head). Perhaps it was just my excuse to get outside so I could satisfy my curiosity.

I want to see what's going on, what other people are doing while it was snowing. Is anyone else outside in the snow?

But I realized the other night, during last week's snow, that I just feel calm out there. And how did I come to this realization? I went for a run.

I had thought about running outside to enjoy the snow, but decided against it. It was dark, it was slippery and I didn't have my reflective vest were among the reasons why. And I'd never run in snow before – it scared me a little.

But as I left work that night and pulled onto Main Street, I saw two women running. I caught up with them (I'm pretty sure one was Harford District Court Judge Susan Hazlett) by the Ma & Pa Trail and asked them what it was like outside.

They had on regular running shoes and said it really wasn't too slippery. Hardly anyone was on the roads (I'm more afraid of the people in cars hitting me than me falling) and they ran around Howard Park, between Boulton Street and Broadway, essentially. Stay on the street, they said, the sidewalks are slicker.

So I did, and I loved it. Running has become the activity that keeps me sane, but running in the snow was another experience altogether. And it made me realize how much I love being outside while the snow is still falling.

I spent an hour out there, criss-crossing the streets and trying to avoid the few cars that were out on the roads.

I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I stuck out my tongue and let the flakes hit it. I got pelted by flakes in the eyes, the nose, but I was remarkably warm.

It was a gorgeous evening. The moon wasn't out, but I had no problems seeing as the light from the street lamps reflected off the snow.

In some places, I was making the first tracks through the new fallen snow.

It was quiet, serene, peaceful. It was seemingly just me out there, thinking about everything, but sometimes nothing except how gorgeous it was outside. There's no one out there to bother me, it's like I'm the only person in the world.

Maybe it's making those first steps in the otherwise untainted snow, or just the plain beauty of Mother Nature, but I could walk around out there, especially at night, all night.

And while I felt like the only one on the streets, I wasn't. Obviously, other people had similar thoughts and I saw several groups of people wandering the streets during that hour. One even made it a point to say hello, and "Glad to know we're not the only crazy ones out here."

I'm writing this just a few hours after my run and I can't help but smile. I told my husband it was one of my best runs ever, one where I wasn't concerned about distance or pace, just enjoying my surroundings. That's what every run should be like.

You can be sure next time Mother Nature graces us with a snowfall, I'll be out there in it. Even if I'm not running, I'll be in my "peaceful place" just taking it all in.

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