I’m embarrassed to admit it, but John and I became mall-walkers this winter. If that’s not a sign we’re about to join the senior set, I don’t know what is. But we’re trying to get in at least a mile every day, and it’s a lot pleasanter walking past Abercrombie and Fitch and the food court than walking outside in the sleet.

Winter really overstayed its welcome this year. Just when it seems to be over, it returns to mock us. Four inches of snow in Boston on April Fools Day!

But yesterday the sun was out and the sky was an impossible blue. A perfect day for a walk outside, no? Apparently no. I was glued to my computer for most of the day. Too much to do!

This is what winter does to me, alas. It disrupts my connection with the outdoor world. Maybe this would not be true if I were an avid cross-country skier or something, but I’m not. Winter for me is a time to make soup, read books, and meet friends for coffee. From November through March, the natural world and I pretty much go our separate ways. The outdoors becomes a casual acquaintance I nod to in passing on my way to the car.

Come spring, you’d think I’d be dying to reconnect, but by then I’ve gotten used to my indoor existence. It takes intention and a push to get me back outside.

Yesterday I finally propelled myself out the door just as the sun was waning. I bundled up because it was still cold. Walking down the lane I decided to spend some time looking up. This is what I saw: billions of buds on lacy branches, just ready to burst. Nests of all kinds. Seagulls hovering and dropping shellfish on the rocks. Cardinals swooping from tree to tree. And that blue blue sky. I’m going to try to do this every day, till the outdoor world starts to feel like a friend again.