Outdoor Diary: Finding Ways to Power Through Dragging Seasons

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How’s the end of winter going for you? Across the northern hemisphere hints of spring are popping up, with daffodils and flowers pushing through the ground. That’s even true in Alaska, where the longer daylight and temperatures closer to 30 than to 10 are warming things up and offering glimmers of hope, even if they do come between arctic blasts and falling snow. In this Outdoor Diary episode Amy walks through the power of those hints and why it’s important to seize them when it comes.

Some of the good stuff:

[:27] Finding moments of hope

[1:36] An almost-missed opportunity

[3:45] A hint of what’s to come

[4:21] Humans Outside Challenge

[5:09] Where to find Humans Outside

Connect with this episode:

Here’s an edited transcript of this installment of Amy’s Outdoor Diary. Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

It’s that time of year here in Alaska: the weather is erratic, going from cold and gray, to sunny and full of hope, to snowing and snowing and snowing more, to pouring buckets and turning everything to ice, back to snow, back to puddles, another afternoon of sunshine, back to mid-winter again.

It’s easy to get caught-up in the never-ending cycle. It’s easy to feel like it’s never going to end.

It’s also important to find those moments of hope — a light at the end of the tunnel, if you will, a knowledge that spring is coming whether it feels like it at any given moment or not, that summer is coming after it, and that you have to push through to get there.

This time of year isn’t like the dark season, that period in December and January where the depth of winter feels like it is never ending and that it is going to swallow you. This season is, instead, a time when, if you are watching for it and willing to grab on to slices of life, they can feed your soul and push you through a little harder, a little longer.

But you have to watch for them. You have to seize them. You have to make the effort.

I almost missed one of those important moments late last week. It was Saturday afternoon and I was tired after coming in from another cross country ski lesson. The other registered student didn’t show up, so it ended up being a private lesson. If you’ve ever had a private lesson of anything you know the laser focus of the coach and the harder than normal work you had to put in. I was, in short, zonked.

I had just finished doing some food prep for the upcoming week — also exhausting — and was contemplating my couch and a TV show when I opened the door to let the dogs out.

Wait a second, what was this? Instead of a shock to my face, the air felt cold but welcoming. I stuck my head out the door and noticed the snow dripping off our roof. It was, yes, it definitely was … warmish? Or warmer? Or, at least, not ice cold, not unforgiving, assaulting, blasting cold.

I checked the temperature gauge. 40!?

I looked at my couch. I looked back outside. There was some blue sky peeking through. I looked at my couch one more time. And then I went downstairs, grabbed my boots and a shovel, and tromped out there to do the very first outdoor recreation chore of the very first hint of the very first taste of spring: locating and digging out our fire pit.

About 30 minutes later I had scooped enough of two feet of snow from around the pit to build a fire. And 20 minutes after that, I plopped down on a large log next to the fire pit with a book to enjoy my small, late-winter, very first hint of an eventual spring, blaze.

Now, I don’t want to get too excited about this. Temper your enthusiasm, Amy. This is not spring. This is not even the spring of deception.

This is more like February Fraud. We are certain to have at least three more winters, two more spring fake-outs and THEN the spring of deception, then more snow, then the weeks we like to call “break up,” where the ice actually melts and stays melted, then one more cold spell, followed by two weeks of spring some time in late April and early May, and then, bam, summer. It will come over a single night. And it will be the magic for which we are all waiting.

But. February Fraud? It’s the first hint of what’s to come. It’s a taste of this idea that we’ve basically done it. We’ve all but made it through yet another winter, and all of the rewards of powering through are waiting on the other side.

Isn’t this just how all of life works? That you power through the dark, hard times gripping on to hints of spring, hints of what’s to come, hints that there’s a reward at the other end that you’ll get to if you just keep on keeping on. The hope is waiting there for you to seize it. But you gotta watch for it. You have to be looking outside and willing to make the effort.

If you’re having trouble powering through these last cold weeks wherever you are, I’ve got help for you on Humans Outside in the form of the Humans Outside challenge. Each level comes with increasingly cool swag, but all of them include help straight from me to you to push you through the tough days to get that outdoor habit rolling. Because here’s a little secret for you: there are always going to be hard times to get outside, no matter the season. Right now you might be powering through wet or cold, later you’ll be powering through hot or busy life stuff. Life, in short, will always present a challenge no matter what season we’re in.

And that’s why it’s so important to learn to see the good and seize it when you find it. Signing up for the Humans Outside challenge can help you do that if you feel like you’d benefit from some help.

But of course we’re always here on the Humans Outside podcast anyway, and you can see a picture of my daily outdoor time no matter the season or challenge on Humans Outside on Facebook and Instagram. I hope you’ll share yours with me by tagging your own daily photos with #humansoutside365.

Until next time, I’ll see you out there.

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