Postcard from Iowa

This weekend finds me back in Iowa, just in time for the first snowfall and winter chill.

Milkweed pods
Milkweed pods

The snow was nothing too dramatic, enough to cover the ground and send a message to everyone that winter is on its way.

First snow
First snow

Yesterday the thermometer crawled up into the mid-20s with light wind, and today’s high is 17 with winds at a steady 15 miles per hour. Fortunately, the sun has decided to stick around to make the day bright.

Even with the cold I have loved being outside exploring my hometown again. I thought I would have turned into a complete weather wimp, but I’m discovering that I’m heartier than I thought. AND I have awesome winter layers… I only had to borrow mittens!

As long as the sun is shining, I’m determined to run around and see the countryside.

Making tracks in the snow

When I was growing up, I thought my part of Iowa was boring and flat.

That area is still flat, but now its flatness impresses me. There is so much open space. I can’t believe how far down the road I can see.

Winter in Iowa

Yesterday, part of my run included following a path that my father actually converted to a rail-trail many years ago. He even made a pedestrian trestle bridge out of railroad ties.

Pedestrian bridge/trestle on the trail
Pedestrian bridge/trestle on the trail

Overall, the trail is about two miles. It’s great on windy days, as the trees on either side of the path buffer the full brunt of any breeze.

Running here now I realize that the way I perceive distance has changed. Places I used to think were “so far” seem like they are footsteps away.

I wonder if that is because I have improved fitness and am more experienced now or if it’s simply because when you’re smaller everything seems bigger and further away.

In any event, it’s wonderful, and I think small me would be somewhat awed to see all the places big me is running, although I don’t think she would understand why I found Iowa in winter so exciting and beautiful.


  1. I had the same feeling about my hometown when I went back there. Places that seemed so far away when I was a kind I could run to with ease. Running and cycling definitely shrink the world in a funny way. As for winter running, cover your ears! I did one run at SUNY Albany and ended up with frostbitten ears even wearing a hat that covered them.


  2. What part of Iowa are you in? If you’re anywhere near Jefferson, you should swing by and visit All Abilities Cycles, which is the store John Brunow opened after leaving bikes@vienna!


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