I had the day off today. I’m working part-time, and I have the weekends and Wednesdays off. It’s so nice to have a day in the middle of the week so I can do some job search activities and make appointments as needed. This being the week of Christmas, everything has slowed way down. I had a nice long conversation this morning with my friend Angel in Boston, had a second cup of tea and washed some clothes. The sun was peeking out of the clouds a little, so I loaded Ashok into the car and we headed up to Saugatuck for a walk and maybe a little shoe shopping.
I bought some really nice hiking boots when I was working at Wanderlust this summer, and I really like them. But for little walks in the woods with Ashok they are a little high tech. Almost every fall, I’ve gone to Landsharks in Saugatuck and bought some winter shoes or boots. They carry a selection that’s a little less technical than the ones at Wanderlust and they are really cute. I’ve bought Sorel boots, Jambu slip-ons and Bogs pull-on insulated snow boots in past years in their little shop. Up here you have to get functional boots in the winter because it’s a literal slog through ice, slush and snow for months. Everybody has several pairs of boots for every type of weather and more coats than you can imagine. You would think 12 people lived in my house by looking at my front coat room.
So today I wanted to take Ashok for a little hike in Saugatuck Dunes State Park, and I needed to get some kind of waterproof light hiker that I can wear like tennis shoes in the winter. I tried on some Keen’s that worked perfectly, and then I laid my eyes on some Asportuguesa brand boiled wool booties that I’ve been eyeing for the last few years. They are so cute and seem so warm. I tried them on along with another style that was equally cute. Ashok was wandering around the store visiting with customers while I was trying on shoes, and the shoe salesman wisely told me how warm they would be when I have to walk the dog. He said they weren’t waterproof but they were water resistant. I have had such a love affair with wool since I came up here that it didn’t take much to get me across the finish line this time. I wore the hikers out of the store and took those little booties with me.
It is usually cloudy in this area in the winter. When I was thinking of moving to the St. Joseph area back in 2000, I wanted to compare it with the weather in Seattle where I was living. Of course it was much colder here, but I was shocked to see that we have about the same number of cloudy days on average as Seattle. And Seattle has a lot of cloudy days! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven over to Chicago where it’s sunny and nice, and as soon as I get to exit 23 in St. Joe the cloud cover begins. We are just in a cloudy spot and today was one of those days.
The trail in Saugatuck State Park starts in a wetland and meanders through the woods and dunes before opening up to the lake. I can always tell when I am getting close to the lake because the wind starts picking up ramping up the cold temps. I could hear the surf long before we got to the beach. The sun was peeking out of the clouds with its rays touching down into the waves. It was lovely, and I decided to walk on the beach awhile even though it was pretty cold. The sand was frozen from the dampness and the 20ish degree temperature, so the surface was hard and easy to walk on. We had the beach all to ourselves.
We climbed over a few dunes to get back to the trails. I found a lovely ridge trail that was new to me. Little pines dotted the dune landscape, and I hit my stair goal a couple of times with the ups and downs. It was so nice to be in the woods and breathe the fresh air. It does my heart good to see Ashok doing so well, and I spent a lot of the day reminiscing about the hiking we did the first couple of years that we were here. I thought our hiking days were over when she started getting arthritis, but she’s gotten her mojo back, and it makes me really happy to know we can still do that together. We just love being together in the woods.
Ashok is snoring now beside me, and I just enjoyed a nice hot chocolate with a homemade marshmallow. Kenny G is playing We Three Kings on Pandora, and my beautiful Christmas tree lights are illuminating the room. It was a nice day for a Wednesday. I promised Ashok we’d get out and hike over the holiday, or did I promise myself? Maybe it’s a gift for us both. Speaking of gifts, I’m going to wear those cute little wool booties to work tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes.