If you and I are anything alike, dear reader, then you must surely be as surprised as I that March is so near.
When did this happen? How had I let winter slip through my mittened fingers? It feels like just yesterday was Thanksgiving, the first snowfall for many of us throughout the Blue Ridge. And then it was weeks, months later before that snow would return, and return it did.
It’s only now though, as I sit inside my cozy unit at the Pinnacle Inn in North Carolina, with the wind howling through the fireplace, shaking the windows, blowing the freshly fallen powder into torrents, that it really feels like winter. The temperature’s a balmy 9 degrees. The forecast is calling for upwards of 5 inches of snow tonight.
And spring is just 30 days away.
Recently, I’ve been feeling a little…off. For awhile, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, and the feeling would come in spurts. Part of me wanted to chock it up to those “winter blues,” but really, how blue can you be when you’re graced with fresh snow and beautiful mountains everywhere you go? There’s not much to complain about there. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was, in fact, a case of “winter blues,” just not in the traditional sense.
I don’t want winter to go away. I’m still falling every day I go skiing, my body still aches from the unforgiving layer of ice that graces most East Coast ski areas, but for the first time in a long time, I’ve enjoyed these cold, dark days. The last time I remember feeling so elated about winter weather was when I was a kid. I remember building forts with my brother out of the banks of snow my dad plowed into the front yard. Digging elaborate tunnel systems and secret rooms gave me purpose during those cold, northern Virginia winters.
Just like skiing…or trying to learn to ski…has occupied my mind these past few months.
While that occupation has largely had a positive impact on my life, now that we are nearing the end of winter, I’m beginning to feel like I wasted too much of my time absorbed in the act of skiing and less in the actual appreciation of winter itself. The barren branches, the creaking sound of snow underfoot, the vistas that come out from hiding, the radiant moon lighting entire valleys. Those are the things I will remember as we move into spring and not, for instance, the hundred-million times I busted my ass, not the one time I made a parallel turn and didn’t crash nor the endless hours I spent in frustration at being the weak link.
This week’s BRO-TV episode is dedicated to those quiet moments, those small seconds of stillness and awe you manage to find in the midst of a big group ski or a lift ride to the top or another hectic snow day with the kids home from school.
As I begin to make my way further south toward the mountains of Georgia, the final words of Robert Frost’s poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, “and I have miles to go before I sleep,” echo at the peripheries of my mind, reminding me to be grateful for the adventures had and the adventures to come as we head into spring. So in honor of all of the little things that make winter so great, here are scenes from my stay in Canaan Valley with the verses from Frost’s poem guiding the way.
Stay tuned next month for more winter footage from my current travels around western North Carolina.