The old-timers said it hadn’t been this bad since ’93. The new-comers said they didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. With nearly 60 inches of snow, quadruple the annual average, and a record-breaking 10 school closure days, Father Winter has won this year. No contest.
And while a lot of locals are starting to think of snow as a four letter word, others embrace the outdoor activities and bundle up.
So, with snowshoes and a picnic lunch, I joined my friend Lisa for a Wintery Adventure. When we arrived at the Nordic Center log cabin, I half expected Oaken from Frozen to be standing behind the counter saying “Hoo-hoo! Big summer blow-out!” Instead, there were a handful of customers milling around. A wood-burning fireplace blazing. And an ancient gas stove holding giant pots of chili.
Once were got our trail passes and stern reminders to Stay. Off. The. Nordic paths, we were off. We crossed over the Cascade Lakes Highway, noticeable only because of the sign, then trekked towards Todd Lake.
The last time I was there was in August. Wildflowers blooming, frogs croaking. Every color imaginable was within eyesight. Now, it was blanketed thick with snow. White upon white upon white. I was struck with how different it looked in a different season. The monochromatic landscape, the starkness, the stillness. This otherness held it’s own beauty.
We stood in awe. The peace and mystery were overwhelming.
After all the driveway shoveling and round-about sliding, Winter starts to drag on. It’s easy, in the cold, to become obsessed with the warmth. To wish away the present and long for the future.
I know what it’s like to be filled with longing. To want something you don’t have. And to be reminded of it constantly. It’s like when you’re longing for a baby, and you see pregnant women and baby announcements everywhere. Or longing for love, and seeing anniversary pics and endearing, gushy posts all over social media.
You notice everyone else with ____________, because you’re so hyper-alert to this longing.
And then someone with good intentions and terrible timing says, “Once you stop thinking about it, you’ll find it.” Ah, thank you Life Coach. That’s like saying, “Whatever you do, don’t think about an elephant.” See, what I mean? You couldn’t not think of an elephant.
Yet frozen underneath the ground of this trite truth, is something breathing. It’s the idea of being present. Of showing up to your situation. Your life.
There are days when I feel like crawling into a hole and dreaming of warmer days. When I miss the Texas heat and I long for this eternal winter to be over. Or when I hate being divorced and wish I had someone to go home to. A warm body to sleep with.
But, then what? I would be missing out on this. This season. This beauty. This otherness. And the present is the only thing we have.