A fresh dusting of snow is falling this morning, adding to the eleven inches that fell yesterday and through the night. It is, in every way, a winter wonderland here. We are staying with a dear and generous friend in his home atop a hill in the mountains. His front yard is insanely steep, and particularly enticing when covered in snow. And although I intended to write our newsletter yesterday, the kids and I found a flimsy plastic toboggan and decided to test fate instead.
We carved a path to the right of a sturdy tree, but our sled would not predictably take it. Every run down the hill was a gamble – sometimes to the right, sometimes left, and sometimes square on. We screamed, giggled, bailed out on occasion, held tight till the end on occasion, and every time crashed in a rolling plume of white at the bottom. And there we would pause to catch our breath: tangled, hearts racing, and staring up at a timeless blue sky.
I cherished every run, realizing that time, sadly, was not standing still. In fact, lately it feels as though it’s sped up some.
Good ol’ Calvin and Hobbes, if you know them, would often launch their sled off a similar breakneck hill and do likewise. And in the blazing moments of terror and delight as they clung to the only sure thing in the world—each other—they would pontificate and philosophize about life and death and other things. The wintry hill, it seems, is a good classroom.
It beckons us to put away our work for a while. It reminds us that our children are growing quickly, and we may one day wish for one more day like the one outside our window right now. It screams that life is not under our control, as much as we would like it to be. And in that loss of control there is joy and freedom and sometimes, spectacular crashes. It shows us that adventure and danger are best embraced when we are embracing one another. A snowy hill presents a fitting metaphor for life, thrusting us into a paradox of simultaneously holding on and letting go.
I’m glad I took the afternoon off to do a little extra “letting go” yesterday. It’s given me some peace about our lives right now. (Newsletter coming soon)