Saturday, February 25, 2012

Look up at the mountain

“Snow is like therapy,” said the Aroostookrat, the one who came over to my house with her husband to play Wii. We were watching the snow fall around the glass room, silently, the wood stove burning, the white flakes drifting down and caught in the flood lights. Last night twelve inches was carried slowly over the Great Plains and blew down in the night. Today the spruces are towering wedding cakes.

The people who I know belong here are the ones who say that they love winter. It requires a certain kind of audacity. I did a long snowshoe today, about an hour, with the heavy snow collecting in my crampons. Shadow tugged me along, dug in the snow after the little voles that nest beneath the drifts. Halfway back I could barely catch my breath, and I unzipped my down vest and unwrapped my scarf, only to trip myself on a snowshoe and tumble into a pile at the side of my little trail.

That's not unusual. On the days when there's fresh snow, I fall about twice an hour. On the Appalachian Trail, I fell about once a day. The legend about my parents, who backpacked Maine while I was in utero, was that they became known as the “Flying Jenkses” thanks to their tumbling propensity.

My favorite yoga DVD ends with this directive: thank yourself for showing up today. That's how I feel on the days when I get out into the muck. Like I'm finding the joy. Not letting the dark days get me down.

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