Inez Castor

As this is being written, a blustery wind sends sheets of rain across the field and shakes music from the wind chimes. The temperature is in the mid-50s and the bright whirlygig by the gate spins in stark contrast to the muted background of wet spruce. There is joy in mudville. As the temps rise and the rain falls, a deep sense of well-being enfolds me.

I know that most folks love the clear, cold weather we've had lately, with crunchy morning grass and sunshine, but not me. I don't trust winter sunshine and hate being cold. With every rise in barometric pressure, my internal anxiety level matches it until I'm as jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

When I grew up here, 90 annual inches of rain was common and 100

inches not unheard of. We grew webs between our toes and moss on our

north sides. Now they call about 60 inches normal and there's nothing

between my toes but lint. That sneaky sunshine even fooled the wild

azalea into producing two anemic little blossoms with the faintest hint

of fragrance.

Learning to use a new camera is not going to be simplified by

trying to do it in a gallon bag, but as long as there's a warm bluster

in the air rather than an icy threat, I'll figure it out. The camera is

already doing one of the jobs planned for it - motivating me to move my

sleepy winter self out into the woods.

I spent a lot of time in forests and on beaches until about 10

years ago, when life and jobs intervened. I haven't been a couch potato

since then, but I've missed the magic one finds only where the wild

things are. And I'm not getting any younger - if I don't do it now, I

may not be able to do it next year and I'm not done playing in the

woods. The camera is giving me a way to bring home the magic while

getting enough exercise to make me feel downright virtuous.

With the new year it's time to make changes - not resolutions mind

you, but changes. While we need extra rest this time of year, we sleep

better if we've done some moving around outdoors. A hike in the winter

woods is a delight, but a simple walk around the block will clear the

cobwebs from your mind and help your body feel loose and easy.

One of the secrets learned during a rainy childhood was that we

don't melt. They make wonderful lightweight rain clothes these days, of

fabrics that "breathe" and keep you dry without hampering motion or

adding heat. The most basic change I'm making in this brand new baby

year is to wander the woods again.

I invite you to find something you want to do, something that will enrich your life, and then do it. If not now, when?

Reach Inez Castor, a longtime Triplicate columnist, at