The snow was a heavy swirl around the flood light on the corner of the barn when I woke, white flashes in the black. By the time there was enough light outside to see, the snow had slowed to small flecks. By mid-morning there was a fine, freezing mist blurring the horizon, a cloud across the fields. After lunch, David and I drove down the road looking for snowmobile tracks so we could cross-country ski. I’d tried earlier and there was too much snow to track alone, over a foot, and getting heavier as the mist soaked into what had been fine, dry powder. I kept losing my ski tips in the snow and couldn’t lift them to take the next step.
Yes, tracks! A snowmobile had come across Coe Farm, an old woods road, and continued up Canterbury where we wanted to ski. As we got ready the sun finally came around some clouds, making a cathedral of light in the dense woods. We snapped our boots into our bindings and kicked off.
“Active with glide.” That was how Eric described what he loved best, outdoor sports that translated his effort into a gliding motion – cross-country skiing, kayaking, biking. I love it all too, and nothing better than skiing. David had skied enough before I’d satisfied my craving, and after he drove home I followed the snowmobile track over Coe Farm Road, the day turned gray again. Clouds, snow, dark pines and hemlocks, bare oaks and maples, and occasional beech saplings, still fluttering pale brown leaves. Mostly a black and white world, even the needles of the pines muted under their drapes of snow. Color isn’t what I come out into this world for.
I come out to play. To kick and push and then glide. After I’d skied up and over the hill of Coe Farm Road and come back, I climbed Canterbury Road again. So I could ski down, so I could slip around the curves of the hills and feel the ground falling away underneath me, fast enough to have to pay attention to just this, the long slide, the metal sky above, the stone walls hidden in white mounds, the slick of the day moving into dusk, darkness coming, another round.