The snow started falling Thursday. Just the sight of it in the sky is pretty exciting around these parts since it doesn’t happen that often, but that it was slowly starting to stick to the ground, that the forecast predicted accumulation, this was big news. So, we sent the papa to the store early, before the roads turned for the worse, and then we settled in, expecting at least one special snow day. What we got instead was four of them, along with nearly a foot of perfect, fluffy snow.
It was amazing.
And so much fun.
With the landscape transformed, and everything on hold, we took to imagining we were in a cabin in the mountains. We made the event into a little vacation and it has been just as relaxing and invigorating and awesome as a real get away. It helped that at this time of the year we don’t have our weekend markets to get to, or pressing work, no major missed obligations. Letting go of the “normal” and embracing the surprising, turning the worry into wonder, receiving this weather as a gift, it wasn’t too hard, which ended up making it such a blessing in so many ways.
In all the busy that is life, the day to day to day, it can be so hard to really nourish ourselves, to fill up our tanks, keep the holy light within us burning bright. I often think that I do a fine job of this with all the quiet moments with my thoughts I cultivate, the breathing, the stretching, the meditations, the time in nature, and so much reflecting; but there is a flip side to that type of practice that is important too, one I tend to shy away from. You see, my first instinct upon trekking out into the snow is to marvel at the beauty, the stillness. I watch, carefully, the birds that appear alone in the landscape, drinking from the warm water that runs out of our kitchen into the field, checking old, dead sunflower heads for any remaining seed. I listen and think how on a regular day even the small amount of traffic on our country road is noisy compared to this deep silence. I bring along the camera, I notice the white, the red, the blue, the color the snow adds to the landscape in winter when things are all brown and grey, such a surprise. I enjoy myself in these activities, immensely.
My children, on the other hand, immediately started to play, hard.
And although I consider the things I enjoy to be play for me, it wasn’t until the second day into our snowy-ness that I agreed, mostly to appease the children and their father, to get on the snow gear too, to ride the snow board, to sled down the hill. And although I thought one time down I would have done my duty, I realized instead (of course!) that this was too much fun to be done with. And as I warmed up from the up and down of it, the motion and moving, each swoosh of it all, I tapped into a feeling I hadn’t felt in a while. I felt young.
In the middle of gliding down our powdery hill, going up over the small little jump the kids had made and landing, usually, in a tumble of giggles and yahoos in the snow, I realized that there is a fine line between accepting yourself for who you are, and loving that and being okay with that and doing your own thing and not trying to do all the things, between that and remaining stagnant and forgetting to be inquisitive and not trying new things. Between that and not remaining playful.
Another fine lesson in balance it was, which seems to be life’s running theme. Not black, not white, it keeps saying. Not stillness, nor flurry. Not just the in breath, not just the out. The lesson, for me, was this–it is good for you to find things not just breathtaking, but breathmaking. Check, I get it.
And I think my kids enjoyed what they saw as a different side of me. A little lighter, a little louder. A lot more than I was that morning.
I am certain this is something I need to explore more this year, and the many more to come. It seems like just the kind of thing to do when one is nearing forty. Probably as good as all that loving and learning and accepting of me as the wonderful person I am was in my thirties, a (near) decade that I loved. As I did my twenties, with all that questioning of all the things. I want them all to be good because they all are.
Life is a magnificent journey, never stagnant, so I can not be either.