Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Eating snow (not the yellow kind)

Yesterday I did something that I haven't for a very very long time. I went outside and played in the snow. I realize that most of you consider skiing (all kinds), boarding, snowshoeing etc, would qualify as playing in the snow (and they do), but that isn't what I am talking about. Most snow activities involve goals of some sort. One might go out cross country skiing to increase their aerobic fitness, or go for a day of snowboarding with learning some new tricks in mind, or even something less specific like go skiing to enjoy the day's fresh powder. But all of these are in some way a bit of an adult activity. They generally involve expensive gear and usually some preconceived notion of what a good day of (insert sport X here) would be.

Before I go on, I want to make absolutely clear, that there is nothing wrong with any of these things. I think goals in sports are very important. I think pushing yourself and learning new skills is fantastic. I love the advances that engineering has brought to outdoor gear, and wouldn't go back to skiing on wooden planks for anything. But I miss the simpler days of my childhood where I set off to explore and play and laugh and experience, without any of these encumbrances. Yesterday, for the first time in years, I did exactly that. I went hiking in the snow. I didn't have any real goals. I went along a trail for a while, and then I went off the trail. I allowed myself time to stop and listen to the silence of the trees and deep snow around me. I watched a cloud pass by. I went up a hill and decided to roll down it, covering myself in snow. More importantly, I laughed. Like a little kid. For no reason but that I was happy.

I think with all of the pressures we each face everyday, we tend to grow farther and farther from the child we once were. We forget to enjoy and appreciate the simple things. My day of frolicking in the snow reminded me of what I'd been missing in my outdoor life, while I was busy getting caught up in all the hype. So if there are any of you reading this who know what I mean when I talk about that pressure to succeed in our respective sports, remember what it is that made you love it in the first place, and don't forget to maintain your childish wonderment.

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