Tag Archives: Winter

What gives me hope for the new year

Xmas morning walk

It started on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. I was speaking with a friend on the phone when I noticed that it had started to flurry outside. Soon the flurries were genuine snowflakes. I quickly wrapped up my phone conversation and stepped outside.

Snow! I felt giddy. Would we have that rarest of events–a white Christmas in Seattle? I felt hopeful.

Snow continued to fall throughout the evening and unleashed my inner child. I was unable to sleep. I played with Itty Bitty Kitty (who was more rambunctious than usual) and peered out the window as the snow fell silently. I was was filled with joyful anticipation–not for the arrival of Santa Claus but for a white Christmas and what it might promise for the new year.

We rose before daybreak to a snowy Christmas morning. Steve and I exchanged our gifts then bundled up for a walk through the neighborhood. It was still snowing lightly and the snow crunched softly beneath our feet.

The fresh snow brightened our early morning walk. Trees and bushes were flocked with the white stuff. Holiday lights looked even more festive surrounded by snow.

After a breakfast of huckleberry pancakes, we loaded up our cross-country skis and headed to the mountains–and even more snow. There was only one other vehicle at the trailhead so we had this little portion of the outdoors to ourselves.

The cold air was refreshing and the snow light and dry. We skied through a campground and along the river with views of nearby peaks. We climbed gently through the evergreens until the skiing became difficult, then we kicked off our skis and hiked up the trail to an overlook above the tumbling river below.

The hope that was sparked by the snow on Christmas Eve endured. I was grateful to be outdoors and surrounded by Mother Nature. My spirit felt light and happy.

Even now, a few days later, I still buzz with hope for the new year. Our rare white Christmas feels like an auspicious sign that we can overcome the hatred and ugliness that gripped us in 2017.

I’m ready for a better and brighter 2018, and it’s women that fuel my hope. Women took to the streets in huge numbers in January to protest the new president’s policies. Brave women stepped forward to challenge some powerful men over sexual harassment.

African American women in Alabama elected a Democrat to the US Senate–another rarity. Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American to serve in elected office. German Chancellor Angela Merkel continued to lead the European Union. And in Seattle, we elected our first female mayor in 90 years.

Women will make this world a better place.

“If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu. And so it is important that we have women in the United States Senate–strong women, women who are there to help advance an agenda that is important to women.”   – Elizabeth Warren


Winter is near

The seasons collided today in Seattle. Fall met winter on this blustery, in-between day as autumn leaves got pelted by snow and rain. The unsettled weather made for a great urban walkabout and I captured a snippet of it in this Instagram video.

The seasons, they are a’changing


After a busy week of work, I escaped the urban hubbub for a quiet afternoon ski in the mountains.

Winter wonderland! Or so I thought. Yes, there was still plenty of snow and clouds clung to the surrounding peaks. But there were small, but vivid, signs that winter had given notice to vacate and spring was preparing to move in.

The first telltale sign was the temperature. The air was chilly, but not cold. It didn’t take me long to remove my jacket and ski with only my long-sleeved wool top. I stopped yet again to remove my hat.

Snow and ice is the norm in deep winter in the mountains. But on this day, I was aware of water. The snow was soft and slushy at the trailhead. The trees were drippy as snow slowly melted and fell from their limbs. I listened to the soft “thumps” in the woods as nearby trees released snow bombs.

The distant sound of water tumbling over rocks became louder. Soon I was a crossing a creek on a bridge. A few weeks prior, this creek would have been buried under snow. I spied a watery hole in the once frozen solid lake.

I noticed bugs! There was an occasional flying one and I spotted small bugs crawling on the snow’s surface every time I stopped for a break.

It was after five o’clock when I finished my ski and, despite the overhead layer of clouds, there was still ample light in the sky. Yet another sign that the seasons are changing. As I toss my skis into the Outback, I am looking forward to my next mountain outing and wonder what new changes I will observe.


A Tube of Lip Balm Saves the Ski Day

We hightailed it to the Methow Valley last weekend for a few days of skiing. What fun it was!

ski-the-loupWe spent our first day alpine skiing at low key and family-friendly Loup Loup Ski Bowl. The only chair lift leisurely carried us to the top of Little Buck Mountain and, on this day, above the fog layer blanketing the valley floor. We had the pleasure of skiing many runs alone–a rarity at the ski resorts on the west slopes of the Cascades.

Steve and I love the atmosphere at The Loup. It’s a community ski hill that is operated by a nonprofit, volunteer driven organization. Locals glow with pride when we tell them we made the trip from Seattle to ski their hill. And the skiing is worthy!

The next day we slapped on our skinny skis for some cross-country touring. With over 200 kilometers of groomed trails, the Methow Valley is home to the largest Nordic ski trail system in the nation. The trail network is adeptly managed by the nonprofit Methow Trails. This is what draws many to the valley in winter.

img_0447We opted to ski the trails at Sun Mountain to avoid an organized Nordic event that was using other portions of the trail network. I guess other folks had the same idea as the trailhead was a party. But we didn’t have to ski too far before the skiers thinned out and we had some quiet time on the trails. Snow fell quietly and an occasional critter scampered by as we skied up and down the rolling terrain. It was a pleasant afternoon.

On our last day, we awoke to a mix of rain and snow in the valley so we decided to drive up to Loup Loup Pass and ski the groomed Nordic trails at the South Summit Sno-Park. Several inches of wet snow had fallen and it was still falling. We could tell that the trails had not been groomed in a week or more, but we were game for a ski.

The wet snow stuck to the climbing scales on the bottom of my skis and pretty soon I wasn’t gliding. I stopped to search my backpack for some ski wax. Bummer! I didn’t have any with me.

“Do you have a tube of lip balm?” asked Steve.

I did! I pulled the Blistex out of my pack and handed it to Steve. He knocked the sticky snow off my skis, then rubbed the waxy lip balm over the scales. I was gliding again!

The lip balm is no substitute for ski wax as the snow started to stick again at times, but it saved my ski day and I was able to finish my ski tour.


Mother Nature forces us to take a break from work and politics


Today Mother Nature gave us a snow day in Seattle. It was a much needed respite from the political havoc that has descended upon this nation since the transition to a Republican administration.

snowmanFor at least a few hours, many Seattleites opted to shun news, social media and work to play in the snow. Instead of turning on the morning news programs, we walked through neighborhoods blanketed with snow. We tuned out the tweets in favor of building snowmen. We took a day off work to sled with our kids.

For those who eschew winter, the snow day was a perfect time to ignore current events and cozy up to a fire. We used the down time to catch up on some reading or finish a knitting project. It was a chance to watch a movie that we added to our Netflix list months ago.

Thanks, Mother Nature. We really needed this break today. Tomorrow will be a new day.


Exploring the Winter Landscape

Swish, glide. Swish, glide. Swish, glide.

The snow is fresh and light as I ski quietly among the trees. Birds twitter as I follow the forest road gently up the mountain. The trees part occasionally, giving me glimpses of the valley floor and neighboring peaks. I stop to sip some water and soak up the solitude, embracing the moment.

Spending time outdoors in winter is refreshing and rejuvenating. The world looks, feels and sounds different when blanketed in snow. When the snow falls, I like to slap on a pair of skis and explore the landscape.

Continue reading