Postcard #50: A Walk in the Snowstorm

Snow-soaked.  Snow-washed.  Snow-bath. At every turn, within seconds, in each direction, no escape from the wild blast, yet so soft, gentle-wet, beautiful it lasted.  My journey out from bed — out from lonely thoughts that keep me down in nothing done — one look out the window and all the mesmerizing white sat me up and into motion as if a lost friend came knocking at my door.  “Come out!  Come out to play!”  The wind ushered me.  My heart leaped.  I needed out.  The snow called.

I dressed as if for a date, or a performance more like.  No, a little of both.  As I quickly layered on my make-up, skirts, dress, gathered up my patch-work cloak, and topped-on my headdress of coins and feathers, slid on my boots and almost tripped over my own toes, I made-believe — almost-believed I was going out to meet a lover out in the spiraling wild white snow.  I can never know yet who he could be, a woman must always put on lipstick at the very least, just to be sure, but he’d better be warm and carry me over the ice… and we shall dance ourselves into snow banks and laugh into tomorrows.

I hurried to get out the door.  Mine was a — who am I kidding? — mine is always a late start!  January days are dark in the north woods, and I tend to sleep like a black bear curled up in a cave, yes, caving in to the winter and wanting nothing to do but dream of better days.  Sometimes I do not come out at all.  I forget the days and nights.  Time means nothing but a series of whites, grey, and blacks.  In the dark, it’s not so bad, but this winter the seasonal sadness I tend to feel is so sharp and keen, I lie here, wounded in my dreaming, waiting for the pain to end.  But last Sunday, the wind was smooth and loud, a heavy whisper-kiss it was, and I was anxious for a snow bath.

A whole crowd of other people were out that day to enjoy the weather as if it were the height of summer. They gathered over the frozen lake all appropriately dressed in the layers one’s supposed to wear to outlast the cold. As for I? Um, not as wise. I glided through the snow in my patchy homemade cloak, dressed more for dream-play and dance. The storm soon soaked into me, weighing me down as I walked. Yet this did nothing to force me to turn back home and cut my time out short. I lifted my face up into the snow and sighed, letting the first gentle pelting breathe over me soon grow into the soaking-wet-sopping sensation that I can best describe as like getting a winter bath with your clothes on.

Along with the wash, comes the work out. Walking through the ankle-deep-soon-growing-into-calf-deep snow went from like walking into cake batter to trying to navigate through wet concrete. Each step I took meant shoveling a trail with my feet, and my heels are not light either. Each boot is heavy out of the snow, as if made to weigh me down during winter storms so I don’t blow away! My hour’s walk into the snow was a delightful torture. I pushed my little brick-hard black leather steel-like tiny feet as far as I could wish them.

It was not exhaustion that stopped me in my tracks for a break. The breath-taking-God’s-honest-truth-be-told reason for me getting out my door any day is beauty.  Overwhelmed by everything around me. I let myself sink into the snow. I love every sound, every bit of silence, every scene taking place all around me, I go into a numb smile and stare like a baby. I tilted my head onto a big comfy rock near a birch and would have napped there under a canopy of pine if it weren’t for my inability to close my eyes. I waved as smiling faces of folks slid by in snow-shoes and skis. Not a full yard away from me, a buck had been hiding. He gave a snotty-sneeze-like grunt when he attempted to gingerly walk through the mucky-muck of the snow on the trail and disturbed by a jogger in hefty hiking boots. Neither one of us had heard or would have noticed the other had it not been for the hiker and his sloppy-slappy boots trudging through the snow.

The swift thunder of the buck’s hooves as he seemed to fly through to the other side of the road made me think of all kinds of mythical creatures, wondering without much wonder how people have thought up such tall tales. When you see an animal do something amazing, like go from nearly standing still to suddenly springing into what seems like a supernatural action, it has a magic all its own, yet it inspires more magic out of one’s own head… The snowstorm’s roar created a kind of white noise that muffled the noise of the cars beyond the borders of the nature reserve. The wind even hid me in this pocket of whirling snow. I could not even hear the branches swaying all around me, yet I could see the trees dancing.

I did not meet any hot-blooded lover, however there were a lot of men on the trail, and all of them smiled at me, perhaps because I dressed like a silly person (but, hey, I’d rather make an interesting impression than a boring one). And, after taking some photographs for souvenirs, consequently sacrificing my camera to the storm, I came back home swooning like I just had a wild make-out session in the woods. I certainly looked like I did. As beautifully as I made myself up on my way out, once indoors, as I took my gear off, I had a good laugh at myself in the mirror! My headdress was half-off, my wet and roughed-up hair barely distinguishable from the feathers trailing from it, my eye shadow ran, and my lipstick was so smeared it looked as if a four-year-old slapped it on me.

Snow-soaked. Snow-washed. Snow-bath. The storm had its way with me. I stripped off my layers, gracefully exhausted now, I was free to swoon back down to bed, yet this time with smiling dreams again.

Postcard #49: Getting Lost is Part of Discovering Nothing is Lost

I am wondering and wandering, dreaming of places and people, my mind resetting itself, my moods resettling, hope is resurfacing. I still wish. It’s not a sin to wish. And it’s the wish that pushes me through the woods, out the back door, floats me to the top, the strength that sets me standing on my hands, holds me in the boat, cradles me in sleep, and guides me out of my dreams into a waking that is doing. I do not mind getting lost. It is a loss of time and space that takes me away from all the heaviness of the world — a loss I never mourn — I take time, I take space, I move at my will, have all of the wild at my pleasure, loosen the ribbons, slip off this gown of iron burden, and tramp along the shore to the destinations of all my imaginings. I want to lose being found. Go missing. Be kidnapped by goblins. Fall into rabbit hole. Seduced by faeries. Side-step into a mist, and yet, not be forgotten…

I stumble back into place. I do not want to lose myself. All the dizzy delight of getting lost can only go so far. The winter silence sends me wishing as it always does when there is not enough doing to be done. All there is is white stinging my eyes in the morning, and the afternoon snow is gray-slate-matte-boring.

Getting lost leads to wondering alone into being alone, lost alone, yet everyone’s alone in wandering alone lost. Is being lost mean having something to find? What if there is nothing to seek? I lose myself when I chase after what is missing, only to find myself waiting for me when I discover what was lost was always there inside, waiting, taking a reach into my own heart to pull out all the losing, loser gear I carried around with every sigh I thought I let out.

I don’t let the stranger me be strange anymore. She’s the spirit in flight with a base to land on. I am earth-bound and freedom-soaring, like Hawk-on-the-Wind that is my family name, my people’s crest, both my parents’ totem bird, a thing thought lost I did not know was there, only a thing of whisper, a meaning no one told me. Every time I asked for meaning, I was given questions. Irritating! Why were they forcing me to go on a journey? I don’t want to go anywhere! Give me the answer, NOW. But the meaning would not have the meaning it has now until I stepped away, ignored the path, rejected my purpose, and chased after someone else’s dream…

I am in love with my wishes now. Yet I have a new wish. Just one simple wish: don’t lose me when you decide to get lost.