At this time last year, I was drowning in snow. Every weekend I slogged, dragged, shoveled, pushed and slipped my way around the Sierras during a record setting snowfall season. Snow was the center of every conversation and the focus of every day. I grumbled, complained and wished it would just go away.
This winter, however, is a completely different story. Dirt lines the path to our cabin, and rocks and trees jut out of the mountainside. Lack of snow is the topic of every conversation now, and the gloom and doom its absence brings to our local ski resort and mountain communities. Everyone whines and gripes and wishes it would come back.
As I spent another afternoon in the lodge, preferring a table and chair to skiing in snow that sticks like butter, I decided I needed to reframe my outlook and headed outside. The lack of snow makes taking a walk much easier than ever, and as I headed away from the lodge and out of the parking lodge, I found myself breathing more deeply and seeing things I had never noticed before.
Snow does a good job of covering things up. It hides imperfections, blankets trash, and mulches out the summer debris. Everything small disappears, covered by something so soft, pure, and beautiful that most people don’t even notice what is missing.
Everything has changed this year. Nothing is hidden. The baby conifers don’t have to struggle to stay upright. The mule ear leaves, brown and withered, line the sledding hillside. The rocky peaks stand majestic and sharp, and the creeks and riverbeds glow green and mossy.
Wandering down a path I had never seen before, I suddenly realized the new beauty that surrounded me. What last year was shrouded in white, today gleams rich with earthy greens, browns and greys. I began to think about all that I had missed last year, and how much there was to see with this reframed perspective. Leaving the path to go deeper into the forest I stopped, inhaled, and looked back at the mountain. It began to snow.
Instinctively I turned towards the warmth of the lodge, then paused, and continued down the road. Once uncovered, I wasn’t going to miss this chance for beauty.