A brisk November afternoon found a group of Women Outdoors’ members Nordic walking in Mendon Ponds. Louise, our Fiddlehead Fitness instructor from Trumansburg, first modeled the correct form and techniques, which we parodied to varying degrees, our arms not always coordinating with our feet, our hips sashaying rather than swaying. Within an hour, our initial shivers with both the weather and apprehensions were allayed and we were ready for the rolling hills.
Spartan flakes of snow fell as we glided up the trail. Well, that is supposed to be the movement. Nordic walking involves all the muscle groups of cross-country skiing without the actual skis, and of course no snow on the ground. We huffed along, but the day was as much about women enjoying their time together in nature as experiencing a new activity. Little color remained in the woods and the puff balls of two weeks previous, when some of us had made an extended hike on these paths, were now grey, desiccated globules, looking to the entire world more like skulls than fungi. The chill of the day, the leaves splaying across the paths and a fox whisking through the underbrush just as the late raking sun managed to reach her fingers through the branches created a storybook idyll, punctuated by laughter and the scrunch of fall’s last leaves. We had conjured up a few moments of perfection. What awaits us in the new season?