Sunday, March 4, 2012
A few months ago, someone said, "We sure are getting a lot of winter this winter." That statement was almost prophetic now, considering where we stand as of today. My snow levels are over 7 feet in some places. We've had snowstorm after snowstorm and no signs of it letting up. You can walk onto my roof without even stepping up. You step down 5 steps to get into my door. I had to shovel off the roof because the snow was actually weighing down the roof so much the front door wouldn't shut. The plow guys came through last week with some big piece of equipment and created mountains of snow at the end of the road so high that you cannot see beyond them, even to my neighbor's house as I drive down the road. It is, in a word, an intense winter.
But despite that snow, we have erected the frame of the high tunnel. Still needing doing is the attachment of a zillion little bits and pieces. But I have faith that will come together. If I can ever get to it.
I've started the tomatoes - there are over a dozen varieties, all growing little green shoots now, as well as cucumbers for Mike's windows and basil for our greens-starved mouths. So there is hope, and the expectation that though it doesn't look much like it now, summer will come.
And on Friday, I got a taste of that. I hit crossman ridge when the sun came out and skied on the telemark hill I was introduced to a few years back. It was fantastic. I was in a tanktop and my vest, - sunkissed by the end of the day, and smiling so wide, it almost hurt. I skied till my legs couldn't do it anymore and I risked biffing into the white powder. On Friday, I loved Alaska again.
Today, a couple friends and I skied down Twitter Creek to the North Fork - it was a great ski - good to be outside, good to be moving, good to remember it is beautiful even on a cloudy day. Zee had the most fun of all, though. She's a happy dog - exhausted, but happy.
It has been a big couple months for the whole family. Liam performed an incredible rendition of The Edmond Fitzgerald for his school - playing the piano then jumping up to sing the song (he knows all the words) with his friend Sam Banks. The two of them were absolutely fantastic - brave - and passionate. At the end, Liam had to get back to the piano quickly so he leaped into the air and dashed for the keys, getting a great laugh from the crowd.
Thea's big deal of the month is that she has mastered the art of skating this month. Excellent stuff. She really had her edges working the last time she went, and I think it's going to be an easy road from here. Atta girl!
Both Liam and Théa have been learning to ski this month - Théa's less impressed with it all, but put up with it. Liam was really into it. I love seeing them get into the outdoors like that. So good for Alaska kids to have a clue why this place is special.
As for me, it's been an up-and-down winter. There are great joys, including a relationship that has swept me off my feet, and sorrows, like the news that my mother is struggling health-wise. Her journey with MS has been hard, and in recent years, it is obvious that it is a struggle for her. As a daughter, processing this transition is not easy. But as is often the way with life, the tools you are given are handed to you just as you need them. This winter, I have begun focusing more and more time on trying to live a mindful life, trying to be conscious of the way one chooses to move through the word and interact with others. A big part of that has been mediation, which I have been easing into, but feel is opening doors in ways nothing else has. My capacity to feel connected to others, the world around me, and whatever gooey abyss there is beyond even that, has grown and with it, my love of life... though I didn't think that was possible. I hope this new perspective will help me in the days ahead as I travel to Victoria to spend some time with Suzy and Charley.
It's pretty hard to sum up the whole experience of this winter in a few words — perhaps I'll try again real soon. But suffice it to say, the weather is amazing, my children are amazing, my life is amazing, and I am grateful. Last week, I picked a name for the business that will be my farm. It is Bhavana - which means cultivation - though it is used to define mental cultivation. I think the two are intertwined. Feel in the earth, hands tending green plants, face to the sun - I'm not sure there is any more spiritual a practice in my mind. Let the cultivation begin!