Six days. That’s what stood between us and MUCH warmer weather in Houston, TX. We were packed up, had the U-Haul reserved, and I even had a job waiting for me. Before we ever graduated, we had decided Houston was where we wanted to live (unless I landed a job with Indian Health Service somewhere else – there are no IHS facilities in Texas.) Due to the fact that I couldn’t even begin the application process for my Texas nursing license until after passing my boards, we temporarily moved back in with my parents until all the logistics of our eventual move was squared away. Anyway…all of our stuff was packed, just awaiting the day to be loaded up. And then my phone rang.
I was standing in my parents’ living room, my fiance (now wife) was sitting on the couch, and we were surrounded by all of our earthly possessions. When the guy told me where he was calling from, I began to panic and I nearly turned down the offer of an interview, as I had already accepted a job in Houston. Thankfully, my level-headed wife was there and shot me a look telling me that I would be insane to not hear them out. So I interviewed over the phone the next day and was offered a job the following morning. It has been one of the smartest decisions I have ever made, with my wife’s help of course, in my life.
I snapped the above picture last week on one of my morning walks home from work. The picture doesn’t do the scene justice…the sparkling ice covering every inch of branches glistened in the lights of the parking lot. It was negative ten with additional wind chill but I have become rather acclimated to the weather here so, oddly enough, it didn’t seem that bad to be honest. While planning our move to Texas, during the winter of 2012 we often joked that it was going to be our last “bad” winter. Boy, were we wrong…and I’m so thankful we were.
I love walking to and from work, something that I would never have been able to do where we were moving in Texas. The surrounding morning silence on my walk is beautiful. The soft glow of an impending sunrise, painting the sky with swaths of orange, reds, and purples; or the immense darkness and wide open skies of South Dakota, allowing for incredible views of the moon and stars. I enjoy the sound of crunching ice and snow under my boots, the chill of the wind on my cheeks, and then the wonderful warmth of home, where I will soon see my loving wife and son.
I find it hard to understand why everyone I work with doesn’t share in my love of walking. For those of us who live right near the hospital, what is affectionately known as “the compound,” I find it nauseating to see how many people actually DRIVE to work. Don’t get me wrong…if someone has a specific reason why they are unable, then that’s totally understandable. But…and I kid you not that every house near the hospital is within two hundred yards of the place…when I see vehicles idling in driveways so they can warm up, and people outside scraping ice off their windows, I can’t help but wonder what they’re thinking. So much wasted time and energy; if the snow isn’t too deep that I can’t walk through my backyard and I have to walk around the block, I can walk in a straight line to work in under 3 minutes. In nearly two years, I’ve driven to work a total of two or three times…all of which snow was shin deep and ice was pelting me in the face as I walked out my front door. Even that doesn’t stop me from walking anymore.
What about you? What’s your climate like? How do you get to work? If you’re not already, is there anything stopping you from walking or riding a bike?