For weeks, I have been afraid to leave the house. I have been unable to walk on neighbourhood sidewalks because I am afraid of falling on the ice that has formed in too many places. I have also been unable to drive my car because of deep snow, or ruts in the snow, or packed snow and ice, or all of the above. Eventually, I was even afraid to leave my suite because the path outside my door was solid ice.
The city has done a fairly good job of snow ploughing and removal, but they have been hampered by temperatures so low that they were unable to use their equipment for several days.
My eldest son has done a good job of shovelling and de-icing the driveway and the paths around the house, but the recent repeated freezing and thawing has meant that some spots turned into skating rinks. The bottom of the back gate may stay stuck in a huge ice block until Easter.
I have boots with crampons in the soles, but they only work well on packed snow. On ice, they just turn my boots into skates. In these conditions, regular rubber soles have the best traction.
So, for all of these reasons, I have been staying home or getting rides. It had got to the point where I didn’t even feel able to drive over to my younger son’s home on his birthday. I had bought a gift, but I couldn’t bring myself to deliver it. I couldn’t safely walk to the post office to mail it either, so I put it on my dresser to wait until I felt less fearful.
Yesterday it dawned on me that the biggest problem I have is fear. I have a reasonable fear of falling because I have had a few bad falls in my life, but my fear had become unreasonable. So, instead of sitting in my living room counting all the reasons why I shouldn’t leave the house, I went out. Boom. Just like that.
I gingerly stepped over the ice outside my door, carefully walked down the path to the garage and got into my car. Then I drove to the drug store and to a new grocery store nearby that I had been wanting to visit.
That may sound mundane to you, but to me it was a triumph; my winter Olympic gold medal. Having ventured out, I became aware that, although the streets near my house were full of packed snow and ice, the major thoroughfares were clear and dry.
So, today I did it again! I drove to a shopping centre where I had lunch in the food court. Then I got a haircut. After that, I shopped for some clothes for no other reason than that I felt liberated. I didn’t need the clothes, but I did need the experience of walking around the stores looking at things that weren’t my own things in my own living room.
Now that I have broken the spell of self-imposed imprisonment, oh, the places I’ll go!