My lumbar still was aching as I write this column.
It’s hard to forget my outing last month on the sledding hill when every other move I make reminds me of it. I’m trying to think of it as a “good” hurt.
Our snow drought was slaked on Jan. 12. The next day my party was finally able to take to a hill and put gravity to work.
I’m not trying to be nostalgic, but isn’t a hill full of folks — especially kids — sledding a great sight? It’s not nostalgic because we still have these impromptu conventions of joy in our area when Mother Nature cooperates.
For a child, a hill can be a mountain — and just as wonderful. For an out of shape adult, a hill can feel like mountain. But we need to climb it because it’s there. Sledding is certainly a preferable activity to another hour agog at a screen.
Sledding is a chance to celebrate us. A pastime Walt Whitman would have extolled: no lift fees, no dress codes, no privilege. A great leveling activity. Out of flattery I offer the below lines of verse in the style of the American bard:
I hear America sledding, shouts of joy ring clear
Those children, each one inflating a voice so strong.
The parents all are calling, with a wave and cheer
Dogs and uncles do their part; t’is fun, not work.
Up and down they go, repeating, no charge
Sledding with open hearts and eyes, their festive life.
Our familiar runs are as worthy of a visit as you’d do for a museum or paid event: Pinicon Ridge, Roosevelt School, Jones Park, Squaw Creek, Thomas Park and Bowman Woods. Get your passport stamped.
You really need to get out to a local hill at least once this season. Perhaps some aches and pains will be a small reminder of a good time spent in pursuit of some old-fashioned fun.
Looking up, looking ahead, and keeping my pencil sharp.
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l John Lawrence Hanson, Ed.D., of Marion teaches U.S. history with an emphasis on environmental issues at Linn-Mar High School and sits on the Linn County Conservation Board.