Winter Has Made Its Understanding

“Are you alright!?” Fern called out to me. My body took a second to realize the burning sensation was from the snow beginning to freeze my limbs. With my knees bent forward, it made it difficult to twist enough to unclip my skis from the boots to get out of the snow bank. With a sigh and a slight chuckle before the burning tears slipped from my eyes I replied “Yeah, but could you hurry up Prince Charming and help me?”

Adventuring will not always be what you expect. Whether it is trekking across a thousand mile trail, or skiing on an icy slope, adventure is what you make of it. As I lay twisted in the snow, I could of been far more upset about the fall, but instead I clicked out of my cross-country skis and walked past the icy slope to flatter ground. Ground I perceived to be a little safer than the melting snow turning to ice.

After falling a few times, Fern and I traveled farther down the road to find a snowed over campground with a little trail. We skied through the whispering trees, creating our own path in nature as the birds sang their winter song. The air felt crisp, yet the sun still peaked over the mountain to warm the earth below.

I skied over to an informational sign that explained the first ranger station in the Gallatin National Forest was next to the river just before me. Only the bottom of the rock chimney remained. I wondered what it was like to pave the way in protecting forest land. Here I am skiing through a snow covered campground where a man once lived his every day in a small cabin. Now it was a mess of picnic tables with melting snow revealing their location. How amazing the times have changed, and in just a short while.

I looked up to see Fern attempting a hill. I skied closer to make sure he made it down okay and chuckled softly as he was very close to falling, but clumsily rebalanced himself. He stopped to look back at me, and gave me his sweet smile that seems to stop time. The sun was beginning to set behind the mountain, but the world still felt warm.

Despite the challenges of this winter season and figuring out how to push pennies around, I still am incredibly grateful. Even with the strange extravagance of Valentine’s, I did not feel like I was missing out on anything. Vanity of hallmark holidays hold little space in relationships that love every day.

If it is anything that this season in the snow has taught me, it is to love every day, not just on special occasions. Even when work days are long, the weekends are fast, the air is too cold, or the tea is too hot. Winter has made its understanding, its grace, and its presence known to teach me something. To teach me to love every day, and in every way. Not only towards others, but also within myself. To be still, to heal, and to truly see the world through the eyes of those who reside in the mountains.

Spring is whispering through the wind, ready to make itself known with the change of season. As I prepare for what is to come, I also wait with a profound patience with winter sitting at my doorstep. Winter and I have not always got along, but I think winter knew what I would learn from its presence. Winter knew my stir crazy heart would learn to understand, to be, and to live quietly, even if only for a season.

Winter has made its understanding. For wisdom is not learned easily, but gradually, like the slow change of a season and a series of soft winter mornings.

Love and Light,

Bethany Jane





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