In harm’s way and unharmed. On ice and not slithering around. Down beside the stream, right to the edge where the squirrels and otters cavort. In the pines, striding over snow and the ruins of snow. I’m as sure footed as a back-country adventurer in my YakTrax, their tension coils as thin as a pencil secured beneath my boots.
Although I’d never turn my back on skiing, I like this unfettered way of going—no bending to retrieve a pole you’ve dropped at your peril, no leaning to tighten a binding you can’t quite reach, no spending $95.00 for a ride to the top of the lift to be in crowds. Initial outlay for yakking about: $20.00, thanks to the brains of some Himalayan Sherpa.
Today, along the banks of Parley’s Creek, I spotted a small creature nicking under brush. Maybe an otter. At the right hour I could catch a glimpse of a fox. I’ve seen deer this low. And birds as well as small creatures abound: it’s a riparian corridor. The creek is pristine, the water is as dark in the shade as that mahjong tea we used to drink. Then the sun hits it and the colors of sand and rocks and moss swirl together. Golden light sparkles off the snow and ice and water.
I look over at my yakking buddy. Her cheeks are rosy; she has the robust smile of an adventurer. I know I look the same. We’re laughing as we march about with gusto, not mousing down a sidewalk in a city park, scared of falling, like we did before Christmas Yaks.
It’s exhilarating—going where you want to go. Anything that sets you free dazzles. I’m as happy as I was when I made my first run down Alta’s face. That would be fifty-seven years ago. Still finding peace outside under blue skies, in sunshine, in love with winter sports.