On March 2, 2022

Skiers of a winter wonderland

By Merisa Sherman

“We could go that way,” said the skier.

“Or that way could be nice, too.” the skier said, waving the bamboo ski pole in one direction.

“But we could go that way instead perhaps.”

By Merisa Sherman
Mira Clark of Bedford, Massachusetts, makes her way through an unmarked path in the woods one recent winter day.

The skier looked around, paused in a clearing amidst the woods, unsure of where they might be but having no idea where they were going. Because if they were going somewhere at all, it might as well be an adventure of sorts. An adventure would be good, so long as it wasn’t too far from where we wanted to be, wherever that was.

Which way should we go? the skier wondered. If we go that way, we come to the river and perhaps get too far from the way that we were going and we might be lured away. But this way was only darkness, a thick mass of trees that draw you in with their beauty and then do their violent branches come alive. And if you go the other way, you risk coming to the end of the land and falling off.

And so we began at the beginning and continued along until we got to the end, sometimes choosing to go left around the big overgrown bush and sometimes we chose to weave through the pine trees. Other times, we ducked under fallen logs and crept around the standing dead. We walked through the saplings, just to feel the sting as they whipped our faces. And others, we crossed the stream, just so we could bounce with our tips on one side and our tails on the other.

The world changed colors. Only it didn’t. You could feel the colors changing but you couldn’t see them. A happy pink gradually turned into a deep, dark purple with the branches of the trees turned against us. Even the ground attacked us from below, the fallen pine branches digging into our skis and legs as we tried to break our way through. A terrible blue came through, like the screaming of the Jabberwocky and we knew out of all the ways of which we should be going, this was the wrong one. It was Tulgey Wood and we needed to get out now. Definitely not the right path. Definitely the wrong path. And no longer the way in which we wanted to go.

So the other way it became. We moved quicker now, sliding along as quickly as safely possible. But we had to keep going, there was no way back from whence we had come. We went forward and back at the same time. And in the end, we chose to go down the up and up the down. It’s better to go up on the down than down on the up. Very tricky. Everything was topsy turvy and turvy topsy but it all came together for a superbly grand adventure in the meantime. There was much snacking.

We then found what we had been looking for. We saw the invisible path. In fact, we practically slipped right onto it without even trying. Even if we didn’t know what it was that we were looking for, it must have known we were coming to find it because it knew where to find us. Odd that a stationary thing can move itself about to found that which is moving. But just when we couldn’t find it, the white blaze path found us and took us to the junction.

And so we arrived at the place we had wanted to be all along. Sliding our way under snow capped trees in such beautiful, fluffy powder that we couldn’t see our skis. A beautiful world filled with Marshmallow Fluff and whipped cream. From the sketchy depths of the backside to the fluffy magic of floating along the ridge back to the front.

We were not the same as when we had entered the wood, for how could we be? And that is why we didn’t know what we were looking for until it found us. But we did know that what we were looking for would be hidden in the forest and that we would find it when it was ready to be found. So better than to walk, without seeking, and let the thing find us. And so, in the end, we find that the Cheshire Cat was right. it doesn’t matter where we go at all, because if we just keep going we should get somewhere — if only we walk far enough.

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