(A friend made the Bernie meme for me and it was soooooo perfect … I just had to do it. Thanks, Megan)
I should begin by saying that it’s been months since I’ve had a really good night’s sleep. I retire early in these winter months and I rise well before the sun. Fractured sleep has become a signature of these cold, dark nights. Like an irregular heartbeat or a gasping for air, my body seems to have moments of seizure and unrest. Is it age ? Worry ? Medication ? Maybe the cause is less important than the effect. I am building an unwanted deficit.
Poised for adventure today I am up before 4 am and enjoying the first of my two daily cups of coffee. I have an ambitious plan for the sunny day ahead. I’ve packed everything “just in case” as I’m not exactly sure how my day will unfold. Before leaving home I grab gaiters and snowshoes. It might be “that” day.
I haven’t made this drive in months and I remember the part of it I dislike: blinding headlights driving through Puyallup and Graham. Luckily, I also remember the part I love: breaking through the trees, the first glimpse of the mountain and “Komorebi” (a word I just discovered yesterday).
Komorebi is a Japanese word with really no equivalent in the English language. It is the way sunlight filters through branches and leaves in the trees. It describes this beautiful dance, this interplay, of shadow and light. I am the first car at the gate.
On my drive, I finish the audio version of The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates. In an historic week it seemed an appropriate nod to the gravity of the moment and also a timely choice. So much of it proved to be of vital education to me. Being a woman gave me a common perspective, but these stories do the deep dive into the unimaginable lives of women without the benefit of privilege that I have. The challenges faced by these women, especially in matters of health, gender equity and family planning, are enormous. It was a great read (listen).
After I finished The Moment of Lift, I dove right into my next book: Visionary Women by Andrea Barnet. The first part is all about Rachel Carson. I’m in heaven. It’s that kind of week.
I’ve been missing the mountain. My body is still not recovered enough from my last flare to go too far, too fast or for too long, but I found the middle path today. Paradise was a big gulp of fresh air. The mountain never fully revealed herself but it was powerful all the same. I went opposite the crowd of people and kept the snowshoes in the car. My reward was solitude. Gaiters, spikes and camera. I had all that I needed.
You can almost feel that cold air …
Stepping into that snow isn’t exactly my “moment of lift” but it hasn’t escaped me what this week has meant. Dr. Jill Biden, Kamala Harris, Amanda Gorman. We saw something reflected in one day that has been silently building for centuries. I rest easier knowing that compassion and empathy have returned to our leadership.
Tomorrow’s leaders are already shining brilliantly among us. To think that we have all been so moved by poetry makes my heart sing. Words matter. Voices carry. Spirits are clearly on the rise. Every step today has me remembering the sacrifices of so many that have gone before me. It is not a small thing, but rather a collective lift.
I crunch through the deepening snow until I’m post-holing and my spikes and one trekking pole seem inadequate to the task. The day isn’t about getting somewhere so much as it is about being somewhere. I breathe it all in. In this moment I’m exactly where I am meant (and where I want) to be.
At Longmire and Kautz Creek there is little snow. I can strip off a few layers and walk freely into the forest. Yes, I walk freely into the forest …
Took the long way home, a new way for me. Drove through little towns and past Ramtha Center for Enlightenment. (Is that really still there ?) Made it to Nisqually for a brisk walk around the Twin Barn Loop as the moon was rising. More Rachel Carson on the drive home. I think I fell in love with five things today. Pretty good way to spend a Friday.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”