When I heard sharp rain hitting the roof I lifted my head to read the time on the digital clock: 2 am, but with daylight saving time, 3 am. An hour lost, but the loss I felt wasn’t time. I was feeling the loss of snow in the forest. I was remembering the brilliance of sunshine glistening off powder snow. My whole body was remembering the perfect experience of x-country skiing in the best conditions this winter briefly offered. There’d been a window of opportunity between bouts of freezing rain, plunging temperatures, and gale force winds.
Every muscle in my body was awake. I was feeling the afterglow of total physical engagement. I recognized it as a sensation that comes only after I go x-country skiing. I yearned to experience it again but knew I wouldn’t. That promise disappeared just like the lost hour.
There have been many beautiful days in my life spent on ski trails. In bed I was in a reverie remembering the past 2 days. One day I’d gone with a friend to a forest where skiers break trails. The woods are so close you sometimes feel you are going to hug a tree. We skied for 2 hours. The next day I went on my own to another conservation area where the trails are groomed. It seems safer because the trails are wider. When I stopped to take a drink in the middle of the forest there was silence. I soaked up the quiet, the sun, the isolation. It is very restorative to feel such peace.
What is winter without snow? Many dislike winter so much they flee to warmer climes. Last month I went to Panama and Costa Rica where I was privileged to plunge into a warm ocean, tour the countryside under dry skies, and soak up the sunshine. Yet I always question why we can’t all embrace the beauty of winter? There is so much to enjoy. Snow has its own beauty. No snow is worse than too much. Our forests need snow. It is a gift to our environment we will regret losing.