Snow Days

Thoughts and images collected during a week of snow:

img_3189

I love a good blizzard. There is something so refreshing about the way that type of weather hits pause on the race of modern life. It’s sad but also true that it often takes a weather event like a blizzard to simplify life down to family, the warmth of a fire and a slower pace.

img_3154

Before the birth of our daughter, my husband and I often strapped on snowshoes in the midst of the storm and headed into the woods for a good romp with the dog. We blazed fresh trails, emboldened by the knowledge that we could always follow our own tracks back if we got really lost. Thick into the woods we trudged, heads bowed against the falling flakes. Occasionally we would pause and listen to the quiet. There is something so deep about the quiet of a woods filling with snow. When we finally traipsed back inside, shedding wet layers, I often felt rung clean and clear by the time spent communing with a bit of nature’s wildness.

img_3186

I snowshoed through the mountains of fresh powder yesterday, my young daughter strapped to my chest. We slipped between trees and under branches that drooped under a heavy, frosted weight. My daughter flapped her arms with excitement and watched delightedly as our dog moved like a dolphin to navigate the deep snow. The sun had pushed aside the clouds and the world literally sparkled. My heart lifted as my lungs filled with cold, fresh air and I felt my body work harder than in any gym as I put muscle into blazing a path through what was likely about two feet of snow.

img_3179

Has loving a snowstorm become a privilege? Is it reserved for the very young or those with a reliable heat source not hooked up to the grid or those who do not need to get somewhere quickly during or just after a storm? In other words, is it a privilege to be able to answer the call of a good snowstorm, the way it asks us to be cozy and quiet and the invitation, once the blizzard is over, to head outside and play?

img_3159

img_3191

img_3173

A Magical Day

I woke early and excited. The sun filtering between the curtains of my childhood room beckoned me. May. It was May. And I had the whole day to play, no school, no obligations.

As soon as I got breakfast down, I headed for the woods. I shed my shoes the minute I could be sure my mother wouldn’t see me. My toes spread over pine needles warm from the sun, even though the earth below them still spoke of winter’s recently departed chill.

img_2241

I bent to inspect delicate little flowers as I wandered between tall and narrow pines. Eventually I found the perfect location – ideal for my new fort. I dragged large fallen branches to the place and leaned them against a tree, propping the end of each branch up securely. Between this “foundation,” I constructed walls of smaller branches and leaves.

Finally, exuberant and exhausted, I crawled through the “door” and lay on my back, looking up as pine bows swayed overhead. My little body became still, melting towards the earth and I listened to the gentle whoosh the wind made as it moved needles far, far above.

img_2116

At dinner that day, I was dirty, tired and filled with a sense of magic.

I want my daughter to know days like that spring day I knew, years ago. May she feel the wealth offered by the world just as it is, as it naturally occurs without human interference. May she feel the strength of her body responding with delight to the growing warmth each spring. May she look at each fresh new day as an opportunity, to be filled with wanderings of body and imagination. May she love the world deeply so that when the time comes to learn that the natural world, as we know it, is the latest item on the list of endangered species, she is inspired to act by love and not fear.

img_3041