by Loreena Thiessen
A winter walk is different from a summer walk. It takes planning. The first thing you must do is check the weather. How cold is it? Is a storm coming? This will determine everything else, what you wear, where you’ll go, what you’ll do.
You’ll be happy longer, playing outside, if you dress appropriately. A sweater over your indoor clothes will keep the cold out. Wear long socks and cozy snow pants and you’ll feel toasty warm. Winter boots will keep out the snow even if it’s deep. Wear water proof mitts to keep your hands dry and warm. Pull a warm toque over your head and ears. You don’t want frostbite. Keep your neck covered with a scarf so the wind won’t blow in. And zip up your parka against the cold air.
There, you’re all set. Now step outside. Take a big breath. Isn’t that refreshing?
Where will you go? To a park? Into the forest? Around your neighbourhood?
Look around. What do you see? Snow has turned everything white and sparkling. The trees are bare. Paths are covered. Did any birds stay for the winter? Do you spot any other animals? Even if they’re not within sight, there may be signs they were here. Look for bird tracks, or rabbit paw prints. There may be the hoof prints of a deer around a tree trunk or going into the woods.
How does the sky look? Is it a winter sky? Any signs that a wind is blowing? Look for branches swaying or the rustle of dry leaves still hanging on.
What can you hear? Are the sounds natural, like birds singing, or the chatter of squirrels? Or are they man-made sounds, cars going by, an airplane overhead, a train whistle or a siren? You may even hear children shouting.
Touch the bark of a tree trunk. How does it feel? Can you find something soft, like moss, or smooth like a stone, or a bench? Is it warm or cold?
Can you taste the air? What does snow taste like? Make sure it’s clean snow.
What do you smell? What does a tree smell like? Choose a spruce or a pine. Sniff a small branch with needles and describe its smell.
Walking outside is good for you. It’s good exercise. It builds muscles. It will keep your bones and joints healthy. It lowers your body’s blood pressure. Walking among trees and breathing the cool air will make you feel refreshed and light. You’ll be ready to relax indoors, eat a good supper, and sleep well.
Remember, all the things you enjoy God has made. Remember to thank him.
Read Psalm 65:9-13.
Activity: Things to do on a walk.
- Take a sled. You can ride it, pull it, or slide down a hill, if there is one.
- Make art with twigs and berries. Make shapes. Notice the texture (bumpy and lumpy, smooth or prickly). Draw with a pointy branch. Make a snow angel.
- Look for animals or signs of them, like tracks, animal droppings, bark nibbled off tree trunks, digging or scraping for hidden food, tunnels in the snow.
- Bring a camera. Take photos of your nature art, animal signs, trees, shapes, light, shadows, and angles.
- Name as many plants or animals as you know.
Caution: Always go with an adult. Stay on the path and stay away from roads, fences, or water. Never put your tongue or lips on metal outdoors.