Wednesday, January 9, 2008

on defining moments

11 p.m. Snowed in.

There were a lot of things I wanted to do. Go down to Cafe Morro, drink a caramel latte, maybe wander to Rico's and get a Guiness. Read a book. Write some. Listen some. Spark a conversation with someone I don't know.

But there I was, watching the sky fall to the ground in snowflakes, building up out the window on my patio. There are a lot of things I miss about living in Seattle, or L.A., but I forgot about this. I forgot the way the whiteness covers everything. The way it washes everything. The way you can watch it fall in the glow of a streetlight. The way you can forget yourself in the magic of it all.

I had to go.

Five minutes later, a determined 21 year old opened the front door. Red, plaid pajama pants. A jacket too big. Two hoods tied around my chin like a child. Pants tucked into my shoes. The snow made it hard to push the screen open, but I slipped out, not quite as effortlessly as I would have hoped. I probably looked really awkward, but mentally, I was beyond that.

All I could do was stand in wonder.

I walked a little, feeling the snow under my feet, and in my shoes, watching the way it fell around me. I stretched out on my back and let the snowflakes fall on my face, eventually creating a haphazard snow angel. Honestly, I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself.

So, I went inside and got my sled.

The first attempt made me hope no one was watching. I slid down the middle of our snow-packed road about ten feet before I stopped, disappointed, wondering if my childhood sled-magic was gone. I tried again. Twenty feet. "Progress," I mumbled. A neighbors light went on in the front room.

Time to relocate.

It was a bit of a walk with the snow, but I dragged my sled behind me until I reached a spot that looked out over the city of Pullman, the lights glowing like coals in a fire, put under a haze by the blanket of falling snow. I found a very dignified looking evergreen tree to plop myself down beside. It sounds crazy, but I felt comforted it was there. Together we watched the snow fall in the orange glow of the streetlight, watched the sky fall to rest in a million pieces.

It was so silent that it was beautiful, the only sound being my exhaling, the snowflakes hitting the hood of my jacket. It was like this whole world was created as a gift for just me to enjoy.

There are few defining moments in my life. When I feel safest. When I feel close to God; closer to somehow understanding this mystery of life and beauty and pain. This was one of them.

"Thank you," I whispered to God for giving me the snow, and this moment.
Then, I was off. I smiled in delight, shoved off the top of the hill, and flew. It was not the most magnificent of sledding runs, but I felt the wind in my hair, the snow in my face, and when I wiped out, it was legendary. I sat where I fell for awhile, watched the cars pass by, watched the snow build up on my coat.

Cotton pants are not the best choice of sledding garb, if you want to know the half of it. I made a few more runs, laughed to break the silence, then treaded my way home.

I fell asleep counting my blessings. It was a great day.

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