One of my favorite winter activities is snowshoeing. I love the silence of the woods and the beauty of soft drifts and snow-covered pines. There’s an almost otherworldly vibe to a winter landscape, because no matter how many times I tramp down a path, it always seems different. It’s one of the things I miss most about my hometown in Vermont, where winter is long and the snow is deep. Here in Massachusetts, we still get some snow (but on the order of a few inches rather than a few feet), and the noise and light pollution is pervasive, making a solo hike a little less introspective.
During the last week of January, the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association sponsored a Wellness Week for students and staff. My classmates enjoyed a pancake breakfast before our diagnostic imaging exam on Monday, while on Wednesday the library sponsored a therapy dog snuggling session complete with cookies and hot cocoa. I really enjoyed the dinner Wellness Panel, during which selected faculty shared their experiences with various issues like self-doubt and competition, aging and expectations, maintaining relationships with colleagues and loved ones, and the stresses of managing and private practice. But my absolute favorite part was starting off the week with an afternoon snowshoe on Sunday, led by a librarian who often walks the school trails during lunch. (Who knew there were campus walking trails??) We all wore sunglasses and forwent coats, because the skies were bright blue and the sun wonderfully warm. Two red-tailed hawks were patrolling a snowy field pockmarked with numerous mice tunnels, and we were serenaded by the short trill of a dark-eyed junco and the distinctive wha-wha-wha of a nuthatch. It was a wonderful study break, and it made me so happy to be able to enjoy such a beautiful day.