Barefoot In The Snow

12-10-2017 Magic Moment:

I have a (what some people might think is a bit crazy) tradition of going (ever so briefly) barefoot in the snow. When the mood strikes me, usually only once a season and usually early on in the season before the ground is frozen solid. When there is the right amount of snow; more than a dusting but not more that a few inches deep, I like to plant my bare feet into the freezing fluffy white stuff. Sometimes I run around the yard, or sometimes just stand still until the aching cold becomes too painful to endure. I then run back inside and warm my feet up by the fire

I think this tradition originated in college. I was a little Florida girl going to school in the mountains of West Virginia. On the first snow fall of the first winter, I woke in my dorm room at dawn, through the window saw the fresh snow on the ground, excitedly jumped out of bed and ran outside into the commons wearing nothing but my night gown. I ran through the grass in my bare feet joyfully shouting “It’s Snowing!”. Groggy angry yells from other dorm rooms of “Shut up!” greeted my jubilation. I ran to the neighboring dorm to tell my best friend. She, having grown up in a suburb of DC was less than enthusiastic when I cam bustling into her room full of exuberance over the snow. Her reply was had words like messy, sloppy, slippery, cold, wet, and go back to sleep in it. Undaunted, I ran back outside and frolicked, quietly this time, in the snow until my brain finally realized that snow was indeed, wet, cold, and slippery. My bare feet were numb and walking was difficult up the stairs back to my room where I took a long hot shower to thaw out.

This morning, the mood struck, and I stepped out onto the snow dusted porch in my bare feet. They screamed at the cold abuse. Knowing I would not be satisfied with just the snow on the porch I walk down the stair to the yard. Standing there, the burning cold penetrating the very core of my feet, gazing up into the low grey sky, snow flakes landing on my face, I could smell the living smell of cold wet earth, the smell of earthy cold wet snow falling onto dead leaves, and bare branches. Birds are chattering in the trees along the road, the creek is burbling down the hill, and a snow plow is rumbling in the distance. The intense coldness numbing my feet brought on a memory so strong, it felt like it was actually happening. I was standing on the put in ramp for the first rafting trip of the season, knee deep in snow, neoprene covered feet already frozen numb before we even get to the water, early spring rapids roaring in the distance through the still leafless forest. I breath deeply, wet cold air energizing my lungs and snap back to here and now. Got to get these frigid tootsies back inside!


Back To Work!

12-9-2017 Magic Moment:

Once again, I get ready for work and head over to the ski slope. Yes, it is really the first day of work this time! Walking into the Children’s Center, it’s good to see everybody again and get my work station all set up. We don’t have very many rentals today, so I hang up all the giant glitter snowflake decorations I made last year, spreading glitter cheer literally everywhere. I also have to recreate and re-save the forms I use for keeping track of all the kids and gear from day to day as them seem to have been wiped from the computer over the summer. I show my new technician how to set up the skis and how to use and read the settings chart. I eventually make the rounds, heading over the HR to day Hi and to Special Events to talk about this season’s snowshoeing schedule. This first days are never very busy so it’s home early for me! Not having actually worked in over three months, I am ready to go home. It’s nice to be able to ease into the season, Christmas break is coming and that will be crazy busy! Today was a good day for going back to work!

Back To Work! (Not)

11-25-2017 Magic Moment:

Back to work today! I haven’t worked since September 3 when I left North Creek not realizing then it was my last day of rafting season for the year. So, I’m a little excited for ski season to begin. Up early, get ready for work, did my hair, and even put on sparkle eye shadow! Looking forward to setting up my work station and going through the equipment. When I walk into the children’s center, it is too quiet. Only my boss and one other employee and no kids… Although the main trail is open, there is no snow in the terrain garden or on the bunny hills. Uh, oh… That’s right! No ski lessons for small children today! No rentals needed, no rental tech needed either. Oh well. I unpack my Adirondack Moose coffee mug, the mooing cow noise maker, my don’t stress guy stress ball, and fill my drawer with snacks and decaffeinated tea bags. So I hang out and gab with my boss, talk about what my work schedule will be once I’m actually working. Then I go over to HR and get my very first employee season ski lift pass ever! I’ve never gotten one before because I don’t enjoy downhill skiing. The few times I’ve tried I’ve just used a day ticket. Since I will also be doing snow shoe guiding this year I will need a lift ticket every weekend! So I got the season pass. I can’t wait! (but I guess I’ll have to). So although I didn’t work today, it was productive, and my husband and I got to go check out a local annual Holiday craft fair and see some old friends there instead!


Healing Love

10-12-2017 Magic Moment:

I was feeling scared (and sorry for myself) and decided it was time to tell my friends about being diagnosed with breast cancer. Of course in this day and age, Facebook is the easiest way to let everybody you know in on your life events, (big and small). I was completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and positive thoughts that friends new and old sent me. I felt empowered to face this crisis with strength and courage. A little bit healing love goes a long way. Thank you!


Last Watermelon


The last night of our kayak camping trip got rained out, which wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t sick on top of it. We have camped in the rain many times before. The other odd complication was the lean-to we were using was scheduled for demolition so we had to pack up and move camp anyway. My friend called a friend, and we stayed there the last night. The house was on the shore of First Lake in Old Forge, very nice. We had a huge delicious dinner and were playing a bean bag toss game outside by the lake when the sky opened up and poured freezing cold rain so hard it put out the bone-fire! After being chased inside, we decided to cut open a watermelon my friend had brought. Still crisp and bright green on the outside, dark red, and gushing juice on the inside. Sweet, sweet watermelon, you are another fruit I miss in the long dark cold winter months. But right now, right here, I slurp this tantalizing melon, cherishing its flavor for maximum enjoyment.


Brown’s Tract


The day started off rough. I am coming down with a cold, all the usual symptoms. Last night, after paddling over to the island in the middle of Raquette Lake, and then setting up camp in the dark (night comes earlier now and I ran out of daylight), I had a hard time getting the fire started, everything is damp from all the rain, and it was very smokey. But I know (unfortunately) my sore throat isn’t from that. Although it wasn’t very cold last night, I kept the fire going to comfort me and maybe dry out the fire pit and surrounding area, so I am very tired as well. My friend will be here later today, so I took my time in making and eating breakfast hoping that lots of good food would make me feel better. I am drinking lots of hot tea as well which feels good in my throat. The water comes from the lake, and I bring it to a rolling boil before using it. I had just turned the flame off on the stove and picked up the still boiling pot when some of the water sloshed out and fell on the top of my foot causing a second degree burn. UGH! By the time my friend showed up all I wanted to do was curl up in a little ball and sleep for several days.

But this is the only time we have together, so with some encouragement on her part and some resisting on mine, we decided to paddle up Brown’s Tract. I haven’t been up it yet and although she had found the entrance last year, a beaver dam kept her from exploring the creek. Of course, it was enchantingly beautiful and exquisitely peaceful. The water in the creek was is brown with tannin, but clear and cold, so I was able to, several times, keep my still painful burn blisters submerged until my foot grew quite cold. The sky was low and heavy with turbulent grey rain clouds which rained off and on, the rain itself being gentle and hesitant. The weather kept most others off the lake and we had Brown’s Tract wetland to ourselves. We paddle quietly up the twist and turns, taking pictures of the last wetland flowers and the first bright red colors of the season all to ourselves. We saw several birds trying not to disturb them as we silently glide by. A few hours later, after crossing several beaver dams and having come up to another we decided to turn around and head back. Evening is coming and it looks like more rain. I definitely will come back and explore this place some more. It is worth the visit!


Endless Summer!


If I could , I would follow summer around the globe, back and forth across the hemispheres. But for now, I am here in the mountains of up state NY, where seasons change. This makes summer even more precious because it is a fleeting phenomena, something to be cherished while it lasts and remembered warmly when cold winter sleet blows against the window panes. It has been a cool and wet summer this year, but now finally what I call Endless Summer is upon us. This is a space of time when the evenings are long and warm, true darkness takes a long time to cover the sky. Then true darkness is vanquished when the big silver summer moon rises chasing shadows into the short summer nights. The breeze that blows after the sun sets is warm, it whispers sweet nothings in your ears, and makes your skin tingle with the magic that only a warm summer night can hold. I call this time endless simply because I do not want it to end. These are the soft summer nights when you can drive around with the windows down, your arm riding the wind current, and not get a chill. These are the soft summer nights that entice you to go night swimming, the water a liquid velvet bath, the air a warm caress to dry you off. There is no freezing cold shivers on these soft endless summer nights. Endless summer is spent in the company of friends with campfires, good food, live music, silly games, stories, and laughter. Endless summer is when the warm night air mingles with the warmth of the fire and our friendships. It rises up to the stars and spreads out into infinity.