Snow fell for most of the day leading to perfect opportunity to break through the fresh powder on the cross country skis. Dad, sister, sister's boyfriend and I drove to the Tower Ridge trails just out of town on quiet roads caked in white.After strapping on the skis and getting our feet loose for the first outing of the year, we took off into the night. At first we spent time only under the luminescent bulbs of the trails near the chalet, but soon my dad and I left the confines of light. Still aided by headlamps, we swished through falling stars of snowflakes in the deep dark of the woods. My breath filled the air with clouds of mist, and when I sucked the sharp air back down, it filled my lungs with feeling I had ached for from the choked lanes of Atlanta rush hour. I was home in the north.
Other than our one night skiing (the snow quickly dissipated with warmer weather in the next days), I took advantage of boot hockey, Green Bay Packers games in home territory, and Wisconsin beer prices. Despite fitting in relatively well here in the south, I've come to realize that I have a northerner's heart. When all is said and done in Atlanta, I'll do what I can can to head to place where snow graces the streets for months and hearths give homes a necessary blazing warmth. There's nothing better than a day splitting logs in the chilled air and coming home to roaring fire with a dog and hot beverage in wait.
But for now, I've got work to do at Emory. And that work was constantly present over the holidays. It's a very different attitude over break in graduate school. You have to strike a balance between rejuvenation and continuation of research. While time is certainly spent disengaged from the academic flurry, I learned to keep work present and productive throughout the day to day of break. This was a transition from the usual total relaxation of home in breaks past, a test in keeping the mind engaged no matter what Midwestern city I traveled to. In the end I was able to keep the work train moving, and revamp my energy for a new semester this spring. A northern break that was needed and well-utilized.