Monday, June 29, 2015

365 True Things: 93/Snow (6/29/15)

I both love snow, and hate it.

Right now, I am sitting with a view over a frozen wasteland ☟—never mind that in a couple of days it will be July. I love the view: it's austerely beautiful, all whites and grays and dark browns, and austere beauty has always been one of my favorite landscapes.

That said, I am very happy to be indoors, in a fairly toasty pine-paneled cabin, sipping red wine, shielded from the insistent wind and bone-chilling mist outside.

Given that our goal here is to do some hiking, I must confess that I wouldn't mind a tad less snow in my viewshed.

Supposedly it's less snowy east of here. And east of here is where we're starting our overnight hike to a mountain hut tomorrow. So it might all turn out just fine.

And if it's too snowy—we can always turn around. We have options. Not to mention free will.

But back to loving and hating: I love the "otherness" of a snowy landscape, with all the usual features blanketed, hidden. I love to be in fresh falling snow, especially swirling, dancing, gloppy wet snowflakes. I love to ski—cross-country. (I've tried downhill and telemark, but I'm too impatient: I want to be able to do it well without having to practice. Cross-country I can do well enough.) I have very much enjoyed the snow camping I've done, which isn't a whole lot—Crater Lake, Mt. McKinley/Denali, Ruth Gorge in Alaska, SAR exercises in the Sierra. I always end up being surprised at how comfortable I am. There's nothing like a good down sleeping bag on a couple of sleeping pads, and a good sturdy tent, to keep you warm and cozy. A little whisky doesn't hurt either.

What do I hate? Getting cold, getting wet. And that can happen pretty easily, if one doesn't do things right. I also hate waking up in the morning in my yummy-warm down bag and having to get out of the bag and into freezing clothes. Brrrrr.

But when I think about going to the snow, perversely, I tend to focus on my fear of getting cold and wet—rather than anticipating the pleasure. And indeed, the pleasures far, far outweigh the discomforts. I need to remember that. (This is actually a lesson I could ponder in various realms of my existence.)

So for tomorrow: I'm going to look forward to getting out into the otherworldly landscape, enjoying the exercise, leaving civilization behind (for a while: I'm also looking forward to getting to the hut and having a hot meal!), and frolicking with a few of my favorite people. If we're extraordinarily lucky, we may even see some wild reindeer. That would make me giddy with joy.

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