Would you hate me if I said I didn't want winter to go? That I want more of it. That I love sunlit reflections on ice. Paws and fur on snow. Sparkles under my feet. I want more time for skiing in forests. More time for skating on ponds.
After the week of the big snowfall, I wanted more of this magic. Friday afternoon, in a rather spur of the moment decision that I too often do not get to make as an adult, I headed north. I've made this trip many times before, traveling dark roads on a Friday night to spend the weekend with someone who knows me to the core. Years ago I drove this direction many times to see the young guy who would become my husband. A five hour drive was easy when I had someone worthwhile waiting for me on the other end of the trip. Haven't made the drive by myself in much longer than I can remember. Ten years? Fifteen years? It felt like a homecoming keep my own company while making this journey. In the winter, a stillness overcomes me as I drive north. It's a meditation.
I listened to Joni Mitchell on the way, and my ear tuned in while she sang:
Now the warriors of winter they give a cold triumphant shout
And all that stays is dying, all that lives is getting out
See the geese in chevron flight
Flappin' and a-racin' on before the snow
They got the urge for going and they've got the wings so they can go
Most creatures try to escape this cold season, but with every passing year, I look forward to it more and don't want it to end.
The draw north this weekend was time with an old friend, a lot more paws on the snow, and a warm fire in the lodge afterward.
Late that Friday night, I met her at a little spot on a black river where one summer I flipped out of a canoe and for a moment thought I might not make it back to the surface. She was a teenager with super human strength and pulled me out of that river. I remember the moment vividly when the canoe lifted off the surface of the water, and she was standing there to save me, arms lifted high with a canoe over her head.
Today she still has super human strength. Fearless, with the determination to do what most people do not consider doing. No sled for her. She set her feet into skis and strapped her waist to a couple of long legged dogs barely out of puppyhood who wanted nothing more than to run fast into the woods. Those two dogs and the power of her own will and strength pulled her forward.
A few miles later, and a minute ahead of the competition, these three crossed the finish line.
They ran the course Saturday and Sunday mornings, and placed first both times. It was their first competitive run. It's exhilarating, this snow and fur and strength of will.
The weekend drew to a close so I headed south. I stopped on the way to strap some skis on my own feet and propel myself through the woods for a bit. The snow was falling between the pines. As I stopped a few times to catch my breath, I took in the wonder of it all.
I made it back home to my husband and my dog before sunset. We immediately went to the park to tromp and pull through the snow once more.