Sunday, November 20, 2011
I waited all day for the rain to turn to snow. I love walking in snowstorms… because the activity is more than faintly reminiscent of our journey through life.
I can see, when there is snow on the ground, the tracks of others who have come before me (even though I might have felt very much alone), and it reminds me that we all have our own individual path; we leave our own unique mark as we go.
Sometimes along the way I make mistakes, errors in judgment, as I did today when I stopped to brush the snow from my jacket. I really didn’t need to; the waterproof shell was doing its job, but I was concerned about getting damp. In my over-reaction, I hadn’t realized how slushy the snow was, and when I’d finished brushing it away, I discovered my gloves were wet—bad news when it’s 30 degrees outside. There was nothing to do but keep walking, keep putting one foot in front of the other, telling myself, ‘Well, you’re going to have cold hands from here on out, the consequences of not thinking things through.’
While I am not always mindful of it, my very efficient Transitions lenses do darken up a bit, even in a snowstorm, if it’s daylight. Realizing this, as I take them off to wipe the snow away, I become aware once again that I often perceive the world as being a bit darker than it truly is.
Walking in 30 degree weather in driving snow is not much different, actually, than a summer-time walk around the loop if one is privileged to be able to afford the proper gear. Today as I stopped near the falls to consider this—in my heavy Lands End squall jacket, waterproof pants and sturdy snow boots, I felt grateful. I have not always been this well suited up for life’s challenges. In the past, I knew what it was to be cold and hungry and to be powerless to change those circumstances. Sometimes now I forget what that felt like, and how far I’ve come. Remembering, even when it is painful, is crucial to keeping an attitude of gratitude.
Finally, part of the appeal of walking in a storm is the promise of what I will return to upon arriving home. At the end of this day that is a life, I hope there will be warm fires and my loved ones to greet me. Today, it will be a hot cup of tea, my little cat Sugar Plum dozing by the fire, and the soft music I left playing as I went out into the world.