Three Cheers for Traction

Having run for well over a decade in the ever changing seasons of the Canadian prairies I have fought many battles with the hardened warrior otherwise known as winter trail conditions.

Ankle-deep fresh snow. Ice-slickened asphalt. Road slop like oatmeal or worse, dirty slush.

It is only November yet already the paths have become an assortment of challenging terrain …

… except that back in the late summer I bought a pair of trail shoes.

They haven’t been a perfect winter shoe, but they have made tackling the traction obstacles a formidable challenge rather than an impassible barrier. Unlike my summer sneakers or even previous winter runners I’ve owned, there is a remarkable surefooted stability to be found even in deep snow and icy patches on the sidewalks that I’ve struggled to find elsewhere. I’m sold, and even pullover spikes or other traction offerings that I’ve used over the years don’t seem to fall into a comparable classification as having tested my trail shoes through the abrupt arrival of winter weather this past week.

So I ordered a second pair yesterday.

Kinda. Sorta. Almost.

The summer version, which I own, is a light and responsive shoe meant for muddy paths and navigating narrow gravel trails.

The winter version, that second-ish pair now en route to my house, is a waterproof, insulated version of the same shoe but with grippier soles designed to take on those cold and epic winter conditions and a warmer approach to footwear.

Ice and snow will become far less of an excuse this winter.

I mean, I say that now… ask me again when it’s dark, icy, and minus forty degrees outside this January.

Sn’oh Canada

Well, it was inevitable.

This morning there was a few skiffs of snow around the city, but for the most part I could have still raked the autumn leaves dawdling in my backyard.

By this evening, a generous blanket had covered the park and streets.

I guess it really is time to dig out the winter running gear.


Dawn hides itself deeper in the morning,
As night’s darkness waxes upon winter
Year after year, as predictable as
Lunar orbits bring the tides and
Ice drawn heaps of crystalline snow
Greet shortened hours of sunlight
Honouring plotted courses through space and
Time and seasons passing now and ever.

– bardo

I have reserved some space on this blog each week to be creative, and to post some fiction, poetry, art or prose. Writing a daily blog could easily get repetitive and turn into driveling I have reserved some space on this blog each week to be creative, and to post some fiction, poetry, art or prose. Writing a daily blog could easily get repetitive and turn into driveling updates. Instead, Wordy Wednesdays give me a bit of a creative nudge when inspiration strikes.

All Hallows’ Eve

Happy Halloween!

With near certainty, within a week or so I’ll be shovelling the sidewalk clear of fresh snow and contemplating pulling my cross country skis from storage.

But … as of right now it is still October, the air is crisp but not quite freezing, and as the sun starts to set over to the west I’m busy putting out the last few decorations and readying a big bowl of candy for the inevitable arrival of wee trick-or-treaters.

We spent the better part of the weekend cleaning up the backyard, raking the fallen leaves from the grass, and stacking the outdoor furniture in the shed.

This year I again set up a cozy set of wooden benches around my backyard firepit and kept the campfire supplies handy near the front of the storage area so I can attempt some winter cookouts outdoors. Last year the snow fell and I piled up small heaps and built burms into a campfire cove in the middle of the yard where we cozily cuddled around our old fire bowl. This year I hope to improve on the design and add the cooking capacity by making use of my new-this-season fire pit. What would be more fun that toasting a big pot of chili over the fire come December, warming up that big cast iron Dutch oven for a steamy winter wonderland feast right in our backyard?

Still, we have a few days of pre-snow to enjoy the dwindling remains of the late-summer and autumn.

In the neighbourhood one subdivision over they are likely to send off the month with a celebration of Halloween fireworks. I’ll hand out some candy from our front door, click off the lights as the evening grows later, and wander across the street to check them out.

Boom! Crack! Pop!

And … boo!

Then. It’s basically winter. Alright, that is a little scary.