Friday, November 25, 2011

Snow's Siren Song

Vermont got early snow this year, enough to ski before Thanksgiving.  Somehow the night before a storm and waking up in a world of white transports me back to my childhood.  Maybe it is where I live or how I grew up, but snowfall has always been special.  You can feel the excitement build.  There is the unbridled enthusiasm when you wake up in a world of white.  Then, there is actually being in snow.  

The excitement the night before is palpable.  Anyone and everyone you see is talking about the storm: how the weatherman is over exaggerating, how the new plow trucks are going to work, whether sand, soot or salt is what you put down in 'this type of snow,'  if Sue's fancy new Volvo actually can drive in the snow, and a million other variations.  Everybody is talking snow, thinking snow, some are even cursing snow.

Waking is never so exciting as in the face of a potential mountain of snow.  It like like maybe waking up to Christmass morning, or maybe not.  Nothing is guaranteed.  Without any promise, you don't know until you pull the blinds.  Sometimes all you get is an image or brown and grey, no snow has fallen.  Other times you get the magical transformation of a blanket of snow.  The world is made new again.  The surface of the snow is a uniform downy canvass,  yet untouched by the passage of time.  Streams have disappeared  tall brush land is lain flat, thick tangled forests are open for exploration.

When the snowfall isn't a rumor and it is actually here.  All of the excitement and the anticipation is realized and you can go outside.   Ever since I was a small kid nordic skiing has been a way to fly.  The rhythmic kick, glide..... kick, glide...... kick, glide..... will lure you in.  When done correctly it is the perfect balance between force and patience.  You push hard on the ski to go forward, but never rush the gliding.  A good skier can effortlessly cover miles, while a bull headed novice will flounder and struggle to cover ground that they could walk in a heart beat.   Athleticism and zen harmonize in this sort, as you explore a soft muted world.

Every year I look to find that balance, both on skis and in life.  To get the mixture right, when to exert all of my frenzied energy, and when to glide. With this year's snowfall I will try again.