Sylvie O'Rourke

A Single Step

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It’s that time of the year when we are prone to reflect on our lives and think about making changes. There is something about Day One of the year that seems like a good time to start afresh. New Year’s resolutions can be traced back at least as far as Babylonian times with no doubt the same limited results. That initial burst of energy can fade quickly in the face of reality; but then, every once in a while, that determination bears fruit.

My most successful resolution was the year I decided that I would go out to meet new people and do things I had never done before even if it took me several meters out of my comfort bubble. From this vow to myself came the decision to join the Cornwall Outdoor Club, a group of unknown entities who liked to play outside. I won’t lie. I was as nervous as a snowman in the Okanagan Desert, but once the idea had lodged itself into my brain, I knew that I had two choices, I could either stay put and melt into a puddle of missed opportunities or I could lift my frostbitten foot and take that single step towards my new goal.

I don’t know what I was expecting; perhaps some company to enjoy a little fresh air and exercise, or just something to do on a free weekend. I believed that having a calendar of interesting events would make achieving physical goals easier. Fit bits and other exercise apps are wonderful but there is nothing like an open invitation staring you in the face to get you out there. This would be just the jumpstart I needed to get moving. I didn’t consider that I would catch the Restless Leg Syndrome, not the one you read about in medical books, but the one that makes you itch to go out and move, to climb that mountain, cycle that two-wheeled contraption, or just go for a walk in the park. Once I had jumped in with both feet, I knew that I was past the point of no return. Wanderlust had me in its clutches and I liked it.

Sometimes people stare at me as if an icicle is sprouting from my forehead when I tell them I love winter, but I understand because I was once like them. Learning to enjoy winter sports has banished my dislike of the iciest of seasons. The snow covered fields and woods are my new playground and I just can’t get enough of it. Whether it is a simple thing such as feeling the light touch of a chickadee eating out of the palm of my hand, having a little fun with a snowman at Summerstown Forest or perhaps attempting something more challenging like snowshoeing up a mountain in deep snow, there is something about being out in the middle of it all that brings out the Canuck in me. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t particularly enjoy shoveling after a hard day at work or scraping my car to make my next appointment on time, but if that is what I have to do to get to the ski trail, then I am all in.

My wish for 2019 is that you take that step you’ve been meaning to take, whatever it might be, and see where it leads you. For all you know, it might draw out a new talent, uncover a new passion, or develop a lasting friendship. Tread lightly if you feel you must, but remember that everything starts with a single step. Have a blessed and happy new year! For more information about the Cornwall Outdoor Club, visit our website at or like us on Facebook

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