Sunday, January 31, 2010


All day and all night snow, coating the pine trees like frosting. Unlike the typical snowfall here, this is wet and thick and dense, more like the snows of my childhood near Lake Superior.

No fluffy snow, this. It plastered my hair to my head, soaked through my optimistic fleece vest. Skiing was like slogging through concrete, our skis completely vanishing under the snow. Basically, walking on skis. Even the Hill of Death posed no challenge; I barely slid as I descended, a far cry from the day I wimped out and carried my skis to the bottom. It took us two and a half hours to navigate a trail that I can normally fly through in one.

Some days are like this; you never know what you are going to get. There are times when a short drive up Hurricane Creek brings you out of the smothering fog of the valley; times when rain turns to snow turns to sun depending on where you travel. I am not used to this; in the Alexander Archipelago the weather descended upon us all, varying only in inches of rainfall. You could not travel by foot or car to a place less damp, more sunny. Wrapped in our isolation, the world seemed the same forever.

I'll take my chances on the snow, even if it turns out to be a relentless slog like today. In spite of the shuffling pace, it was well worth it, passing through the hushed white world. The snow forced me to slow down, to really see each tree and each indentation in the landscape. It reminded me that there are times to fly and times to ponder, to take things a bit slower.

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