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My Winter Walks

I should get outside for a while. Oh, but I have to put on all those clothes! Okay. I'm dressed in a coverall and boots with two hats and enormous mittens that open up so I can use my fingers. I can barely move, but I'm ready. Oh, but I have to get into my snowshoes! Okay. Got the snowshoes on and tightened up the toe strap, the arch strap, the heel strap and whatever that fourth one is for. Oh, but how do I get down the porch steps in these things? Okay. Went down the ramp--easy-peasy. Off I go, walking a little like a duck with a hernia. Oh, but when I leave the first wood and come out into the field, that wind bites! Okay. Back in the woods again. Quiet, peaceful. (Well, except for me panting with exertion.) Here's where I'm likely to see animals, often deer and always squirrels. My path circles the woods, crossing a small, seasonal stream on a log bridge that's a bit of a challenge on snowshoes. Trees overhead squeak as they're forced toget

On Living in the Woods

My home town in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula is so tiny it's easy to ignore it as you drive through--if you even do that. Since it's not on the road to anywhere important, most people never see it as they whiz by on I-75, miles away. Residents often field questions like, "Where's your Wal-Mart?" or "Why can't I find your McDonalds?" Answer: There isn't one. I don't even live in the "city." Our home is a few miles out, on a side road that has no name, only a number. The house is surrounded on three sides by trees, mostly big maples, that screen us from wind and sun except what comes from the south. People who don't know ask, "What do you DO up here?" They comment on living so far from cultural events, hospitals, and shopping. I've listed some things I do, though others could name more activities, maybe better ones to illustrate why we live in our chosen location. I enjoy the land. Any time of ye