I was unprepared for snow.
The weather app on my phone predicted chilly sunshine all day, and since I wasn’t expecting to work late, I didn’t check the evening forecast.
So the snow was a surprise. It didn’t seem bad as I exited the subway and went to get groceries, but by the time I left the store it was coming down hard and starting to stick. I was wearing slick-bottomed fashion boots and have a history of ankle sprains, so I decided to wait for the bus rather than walk three avenues while carrying a large and heavy bag of food.
I stood on the sidewalk for a few minutes, taking the time to observe that snow is like friendly rain: it’s soft and pretty as it falls, but you still end up wet. Then, since I was quickly getting soaked and there was no sign of the bus, I reasoned I was better off moving though the flakes than letting them accumulate on my unhatted head.
So often I take walking for granted—it’s my primary mode of transportation in Manhattan. But tonight I had to be vigilant, because there is no security on slippery sidewalks, especially not when wearing unsuitable shoes.
“Slowly, slowly, careful, careful,” I said to myself, keeping my head down and my pace measured. People around me moved faster, but I plodded insistently, lifting one foot and then the other, paying no mind to the progress of fellow pedestrians.
And that’s when I decided to write a blog post, because tonight’s journey home parallels the path I’m traveling professionally. I know where I want to go, but it’s a few avenues away and snow is falling. I will get there if I’m patient, and it’s not a competition, but one careless step and I could be on my ass.
It’s not easy, taking care of every. single. step. Paying attention to the footprints ahead of me while deliberately placing my own. Acknowledging and praising progress while staying focused on moving forward.
But it’s not hard, either, making my way with cautious determination, trusting that I will get where I’m headed. Catching slips before I fall. One step at a time. Simple. Steady. True.
It was uncomfortable, walking with wet socks and a weighty load. “This suckity sucks,” I said once or twice, but I knew there was a warm bath waiting for me, and hurrying wasn’t going to make me drier. So I stuck with what worked. One foot in front of the other, again and again, and in time I got home.