I have cross country skied for years. I really prefer bush-wacking rather than groomed trails, and when we have a good snow season (meaning lots of snow), we go right out the back door. When we have a light snow season, I head to Harriett Hollister Spencer Park, where the skate skiers go zinging past and make me envious of their speed. So this year I joined them.

I'm terrible. A combination of lack of technique and lack of aerobic fitness to the degree required. And we have had such a disappointing and inconsistent snow season it has been difficult to get out with any regularity. But it's really fun, and I love learning new things, struggling along the learning curve.

Yesterday was about 33 degrees. The trees weighted down with ice and snow, waving in a light breeze, branches clicking and tinking together, sounding as if I was surrounded by enormous bowls of Rice Krispies.

And Molly and Finn were as happy as dogs can be.

One of the most important aspects of being an artist is the same as any small business person- you have to show up for work. If you are sitting around waiting for the muse to show up, it may be a long wait. Or a short career. But the flip side of this is that there is always something to be done. You can work all the time you are awake and not get done. I am making a real effort this year to work as much as necessary, probably even a little more, but not all the time. My muse is somewhere in my head, and a good regular dose of fresh air helps me see her more clearly.

Today we are back to 50 degrees. Then back to freezing later in the week. And hopefully some snow.

Richard Harrington

Artist living in Oregon.