It has been a rather wet and sloppy March after a fairly dry second half of January and much of February, and I keep hearing reports of epic skiing, perhaps the best of the season, at Snowbowl north of Missoula today. I haven’t joined the crowd this season, and in fact haven’t even cross-country skied since late January. It has been more of an inward-focused first three months of this year, an uncharacteristically introverted, hermitizing and less nomadic season for those who know me well.
What gives? Hard to articulate (again something that is uncharacteristic for me), but I sense huge change and huge opportunity ahead. I want to be ready. I want to be rested. I want to be super healthy and fit when the guiding season kicks into high gear in late May.
I want to travel and write and shoot more pictures. I want to learn all I can about this dynamic planet and guide folks to incredible places close to and farther away from home. I want to participate and do what I can to help others in this world in the remaining life that I have, rather than sit and watch and bitch about and judge what others are doing or not doing in Helena, Washington, D.C., or anywhere else for that matter. Not having a TV helps me do that, perhaps, but there are moments when I fall under the spell. And then I wake up, usually…
That’s probably why I have been walking on average at least 15 miles a week since the first of the year, and last week I covered over 20 miles in my adopted city of Missoula. Tonight, while I was walking home from downtown, the Clark Fork River surged and churned brown while snow swirled and whirled and soaked into the ground, which grows greener in its intensity every day now.
Walking feels good; it allows me to feel and notice all sorts of changes that I wouldn’t notice nearly as well behind the wheel here in the River City. Walking also contributes less to my daily carbon footprint, though my silicon footprint likely has superseded that as of late with all the time spent at the computer. A teenager at the library this evening made me laugh out loud when he lamented the world of 24-7 news and communications, sighing that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if iPods took over the world, like they did on a “South Park” episode.
I digress. Back to where we are now at the juncture of winter’s demise and early spring, though those two events are hard to demarcate in Montana most years. Even extroverts and adrenaline junkies like me need time to chill, to hibernate, to retreat, to digest where I’ve been, to examine where I am, and focus on where I want to go, with greater wisdom and insight the goal. Bear medicine in many Native American cultures says pretty much the same thing about the power and gifts freely offered to Indian peoples by this magnificent, often maligned and misunderstood mammal.
All I can say for sure is that I am coming out of hibernation, hungry, and hopefully a little wiser, better understanding who I am and what I have to offer more clearly. First, though, what’s in the fridge?