Monday, November 12, 2012

October Surprise

I'm so behind on posting pictures and there's nothing like some airport downtime to motivate one to upload some aging photos.

They've been tapping their feet in impatience at me, "Let's go!"

Nature has yet taunted us with a significant snowfall in the autumn.  The first snowstorm of the Tahoe area happened in October again.  Instead of reading this as an indication of perhaps a great winter season, I'd defer the weather predictions to the meteorologists.  If we base it on last year's snow results, we know, "in like a lion" is not really a promise of anything.

But what is good about snow in autumn, other than the obvious water supply argument, is that it is a beautiful time to be outside.  The ground is blanketed in snow (and in the case of Mount Rose Meadows, at least six inches of fresh powder) and coats the woods in whimsy.  It's not quite freezing yet so that means, it's the perfect and rare chance for a hike in the snow.

A Dutch boyfriend with an adventurous spirit, a Garmin EDGE 800, water, a Toblerone, loads of sunshine, crisp mountain air (and proper technical gear for me this time around) and we are rockin'.

Except for the occasional chirping of birds who sounded as happy as we were to be alive at that moment and the muffled crunch of snow under our feet, the meadows were so quiet - not at all in an unnerving way, but in a solitary, almost sacred way. We occasionally passed a cross country skier or a couple on their way back from their own hike, and if it were not for some dog and ski tracks, one would think the rest of civilization had vanished and left all this wild, white beauty to ourselves.

We ascended in silence, me trailing behind the Dutch. It was not a time to talk. It was not a time to make plans.  It was a time to let the world be.  It was a time to revere nature's cycles and marvel at the unseen hand that painted a scene so idyllic. We had no real plan of where we're going or where we're supposed to end up. I followed the Dutch and the Dutch, I suppose, followed his gut.

I watched the interplay of light and shadow all around me as the late morning sun illuminated dry pine needles on the ground you otherwise would not take notice of. And I think how light is part of shadow in as much as shadow is part of light. There is no summer without winter, no heat if we don't know what cold is.

I am unaware of exactly how long we had been hiking.  When asked if we should climb this steep hill, I did not hesitate.  Little did we both know, the pay off would be magnificence like this:

Lake Tahoe, in all its splendor, as blue as the blue, blue sky, opened up before our eyes and jaws as wide as discs.  We did not seek this view, yet we were rewarded with it.  It was like waking up on Christmas morning and finding a big surprise under the tree.  

We sat on a rock, tore open the Toblerone we've been saving until we know we've earned something and shared a milk chocolate nougat goodness with the best view in the world at that moment.

The seriousness didn't last very long since a snowball fight was just too irresistible.  

After a dozen or more (failed) attempts by the Dutch to hit me with a snowball, we started our descent back, cheeks flushed and hearts bursting with those unspeakable things.  

It is often said that in one's last few moments of life, our life flashes before us.  I am certain - CERTAIN - that when my time is up, this day will flash before me, and right here and now, as I write this, I am happy that I put on those snow shoes and went out in the woods that cold October morning.

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