Friday, December 18, 2009

pushing the season

It's still that inbetween time: too much snow to hike, not enough to ski well. Today we went up to Fergi, the local ski area, to try out the new nordic trails they have marked. Personally I felt that they were cross country trails laid out by good backcountry skiers, as evidenced by the screaming downhill run (and subsequent fall I took to avoid hitting a tree) halfway through. Jerry and Dana, both good skiers, watched in amusement and tried to teach me to snowplow.

It's inbetween: we are still getting rain in town and up there, bare patches dot the forest. It's an uneasy time, longing for the sun-washed trails but settling for a bleak patchwork of barren trees and sodden snow underfoot. I'm in between too, halfway to settling into a different life. This is the time when it could go either way. I miss the ocean with an intensity I never thought. I thought I would miss other things: the wildness of the mountains, the soft squelching of the muskegs under my boots. But it is the ocean I miss, the tides you could set a watch by, the deep mysteriousness of it all.

So today we pushed the season, walking gingerly on our skis through the stumps and gliding on the covered places. It would have been easier to stay home and wait for the weather to make up its mind, just like it would have been easier for me to stay by the ocean. But something, maybe the same thing, called me out to see what it was like today. The same thing made me stand on the ferry heading south.

What am I looking for? I don't know. Maybe I like it this way: in between, surprising, never boring. You can wake up one day to a blizzard or it can be 50 degrees and sunny, like it was in Imnaha today. I like unpredictability. I like surprise.

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