Walking. I bet you didn't even consider that walking might be a study in patience, did you? Well, it can be, especially this time of year, and more so this year. As the days are warm and the nights aren't so cold, the snow that once was a hard-packed trail, grows soft. Trouble is, they aren't the soft of new snow or even of mushy snow, easy to slosh through. The surface is uncertain; one step might be solid enough but the next one gives way. To preserve the integrity of your back, you need to be patient with every step. You need to be ready for every step to give way. Allow yourself to be pleased if it doesn't but don't trust that it won't until you have completely moved on to the next step - and the whole thing must be done all over again.
The best strategy is to take small steps, nearly heel to toe, not perfectly so but far shorter than a comfortable stride. Those of you ladies who like to sway your hips might find the necessary stiff back hard to accomplish, but it is a necessity. The step that gives way, seldom does so with any warning.
To add to the lesson in patience, and to reinforce the necessity of taking short careful steps, is the fact that the snow is still nearly knee deep. Not very deep, you say, but if your step suddenly plunges down and you are already throwing your weight into the next stride, you run the very real risk of leaving your knee behind stuck up in the hole your boot created while the surrounding solid surface didn't give way for the rest of your leg to move forward.
So, no matter how far you have to go, patience is key to keep your extremities in tact. Soon enough, when the snow is less deep, there will be an added dimension to the patience of walking. At the moment, the only problem is that you break through and your step goes straight down. Likely by next week, not only will the foot go down at unexpected moments, it just might go sideways too, and any direction is game.
Oh, and I suppose I should mention, whenever I'm going somewhere out there, it's usually to carry something back, so I'm a pound or 3 or 5 or 10 heavier, depending on what I went to get. That means that just because some spots might have held me up on going one direction, doesn't mean that same spot will hold you up on the way back.
So, patience is walking - a necessity. Are you patient enough?