Walking Close to Home

Beaver Lake in snow
Beaver Lake in snow

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed. The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed. Even the gym is closed. Sometimes I just have to walk close to home. All that’s left is Beaver Lake.

The news have been telling me how bad and dangerous the weather is outside. But they’re just talking about driving. I bundle up and walk to Beaver Lake. The streets are almost deserted. By mid-afternoon, a few cars brave the slush and snow.

Beaver Lake is my go-to destination when I don’t have to time for a hike and don’t feel like going to the “Y”, as nice as it is. But usually, the weather is better and it’s the go-to place for other walkers as well. Then, I smile and say “hi” to everyone I meet.

Today it’s quiet and white. If I study the snow, I can see that I’m not the first one to be here but it sure feels this way. I think about “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, the Robert Frost poem. It might be the last poem I studied in school.

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow. 

But this is mid-afternoon and I’m walking and not on a horse as the author was. In a city, you only get one day for this “all alone” feeling. By the second day, no matter what the news media is telling you, people will be shoveling, driving, going to the grocery store.

Green hollies with red berries pop out in what is really a gray on gray scene. Suddenly, a woman glides out of nowhere on cross-country skis. I look at her longingly. I gave up my skis a few years ago, when I thought that the only time I would ski is on a winter vacation far from the Southern Appalachians. I was also past falling on my shoulder, hand, arm, and banging against trees.

Snowshoes are really too much. There’s not enough snow, unless you go up to a high elevation. And I gave these up as well several years ago as well.

So I walk. Where will I go today?

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