One of our strategies for surviving this quarter of graduate school (quarter by quarter...) is that Mama gets exercise. Dan thoughtfully arranged for a membership to OU's recreational facility for me as my Christmas present (completely off-topic - my other gift was a second floor to the worm bin. my husband knows and loves me really really a lot.), which I have really enjoyed (groan, wince, sigh). I am the type of person who needs lots of encouragement while exercising, so the winsome young (really really young) ladies who lead the classes I've been to earn their keep with me. But some days what I really need is a long walk. Today was one of those days. It began with the long morning scramble of breakfast-making and lunch-making and child-dressing and bag-packing and carseat-buckling (oh, wait - schooling families have to do this five days a week...wow), dropping off a forgotten book to Dan on campus, and off to our homeschool coop in a teeny township about a 15 minute's drive from here, through a beautiful snowfall. Coop is lovely, lively, and lots of fun, but it wears me out. So by 5 I was ready for a long walk in the long shadows of the day, listening to the crunch and snap of the ice underfoot and the sudden stillness when I stopped...I love walking for the rhythm, for the flow of thoughts, for the privacy of an animated conversation with myself, for the figuring of a poem or an idea, and today for the chilly cheeks, the brisk freshness of the air, and the amazing colors of winter at sunset.