By Merisa Sherman
It has snowed before and it will snow again.
As the world swirls around us like snowflakes in a mid-winter storm, I find comfort in these words. I find that I repeat them to myself, like a comforting mantra, while I focus on my breathing. I let the words wrap around me like a thick blanket of fresh powder, so fluffy and comforting. The snow in my mind turns from a swirling, blustery storm where you can’t catch your breath in the wind to big, fat flakes, falling slowly as they gather together on the ground. It has snowed before. And it will snow again.
And this past week, it did snow. TWICE! In fact, it is snowing this morning as I sit writing this, my hot chocolate is covered in so many mini-marshmallows they are overflowing the mug and dripping down the side like snow sliding off a metal roof on a warm afternoon. This morning’s flakes are fluffy, and seem to be floating down at a steady pace. In complete silence, they come together on the ground, each individual flake uniting with all the others to achieve something so glorious that many of us have dedicated our lives to its existence.
The first snowfall always brings a little bit of a giggle to my heart. I can feel the difference in the air even inside our home and I know something different is happening outside. It’s almost an eerie quiet, as the birds stay snuggled in their beds for just a little longer this morning, enjoying the warmth from each other before stepping out into the cold. The fresh blanket of white absorbs all the extraneous noise of the morning whereas just yesterday the crinkling of the leaves was almost overbearingly loud. Quiet reigns in the valley, at least for now.
My old cross-country skis are there, right where they always are, next to the door. Unobtrusively, they lean against the wall, waiting for their moment of glory. From my Nordic skis there is never anxiousness, never a demand from them that they be chosen above all others to make the journey. Instead, there is a simple existence, an acknowledgement of my current mantra. Unlike my Alpine skis that are constantly screaming for attention, the Nordic skis exude a sense of calm.
I grab my skis from the wall and dig for my poles. My boots don’t fall apart as I shove my favorite purple socks into them and I am grateful. The laces are frayed but I’m convinced the worn out Velcro will hold everything together for now. My favorite headband is located, perfectly paired with sunglasses. A high tech vest is thrown over my pajamas and in moments I have transformed from a regular human into a Nordic skier. It is time.
Skis in hand, I throw open the door and breathe in the fresh winter air. The sharpness tickles my nostrils and it’s as if pure happiness is filling up my lungs. I can barely contain myself as I reach the snow-painted grass and throw my skis down. As I struggle with the bindings and the sticky snow, I am convinced this isn’t a dream. After months of waiting, it is truly finally going to be winter again.
Finally locked in, my skis slide forward underneath me. I can feel the different thicknesses of grass underneath my skis, getting stuck in one section and I wonder if we should have mowed the grass one last time. The lawn quickly switches to a muddy section and I have to move quickly to prevent the warming snow from sticking underneath my skis. I’m just getting started. My skis glide, one after the other, moving me forward in a movement that feels as old as time. I catch the rhythm, my breath combined with the glide of my skis, and lose myself to the zen of the moment. I am on glissé. I am skiing.
I am pulled out suddenly, the snow so thick under my skis that it literally stops me in my tracks. My mind is ripped from its peaceful state and I am forced to refocus on the world around me. I whack my pole against my ski —hard— in an attempt to release the snow. And instead, I break my pole. Great. The frustrations of the world come barreling down on me as I continue back to the house, limping along with a foot of snow underneath one ski and a now extra short pole. As I reluctantly turn back to look at my successfully tracked up lawn, I remember my mantra and feel my whole body relax.
It has snowed before. And it will snow again.