Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow




It snowed again last night, not much, but on top of the foot still lingering in the backyard it seems like a lot. I know why the sight of snow makes me grumble. I’ve gone soft over the years and I’m not necessarily proud of it. I grew up in northern Wyoming, downhill skiing every Saturday and Sunday from the day the runs opened until they closed, so snow was a good thing and cold temperatures were part of life. What’s a little frostbite on the toes as long as you’re having fun? Being out on horseback in frigid temperatures and icy slopes wasn’t my favorite pastime, but I guess back then that was normal.

I spent several years in the high plains of Wyoming where summers were short and it snowed horizontally. The wind kept the roads around town fairly clear, so the snow never really piled up. The highways leading north toward home were always bad in the winter, so I never expected anything different and never felt let down.

Then there was Jackson Hole. If you love white Christmases, Thanksgivings, Easters, and the occasional white Fourth of the July, this is the place. The snow started in October and hung around until May. We never took the car out of the garage or the truck out of four-wheel drive during the long winter months. Snow from plowing or drifting often blocked much of the sun from coming in the windows and my shortest escape route out of the valley would close down.

Then it happened. I found out that a person doesn’t have to be cold or drive on icy roads. Living in the South Pacific, Hawaii and the American Southwest showed me another side of life. I enjoyed my time in those places, but sometimes I wonder if it would have been best not to know. Kind of like flying first class on an airplane – coach was fine until a fluke upgrade to first class on a flight from Bangkok to Taiwan showed me what I was missing. Now, I look up at the front of the plane with longing and at the blanket of white outside with a yearning for spring. If I can’t wait for spring, those temperatures are sure to be found somewhere. Thankfully we live in a country where the climes are as diverse as the people and there is truly something for everyone.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year

It’s good to be home after having traveled over 3,000 miles in December to attend a memorial service in one state and Christmas with family in another. I’m still in disbelief that we managed such a road trip over six driving days in December through Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota with only about an hour of slick roads. The two occasions brought a roller coaster of emotions, but provided an opportunity to see friends we haven’t seen in years and be with family who we miss dearly.

Now, it’s a time to reflect back on the past year and look ahead to the new. I can only hope that 2011 brings peace and closure to those who have lost loved ones or suffered other tragedies, and faith that the coming days will be brighter. Best wishes to all for a happy, successful and compassionate New Year.