Friday, November 09, 2012

It doesn't get much better than this

I was walking home from work today. It was dark already - the consequence of living in the north. The wind was blowing and the snow was flying - there was a winter storm warning out. It wasn't too cold, maybe -10c, but enough to give the wind some teeth.

And it was glorious! I laughed in delight and smiled at the snowflakes. I was dressed well enough that I wasn't really cold. I'm not sure why it felt so good. You might think I'd resent the cold weather having just got back from the warmth of Mexico. But I didn't. It reminded me of weather in the mountains, of other glorious days. Crossing the railroad bridge was as exposed as an icy mountain ridge.

But why would being reminded of bad weather in the mountains, by bad weather in Saskatoon, make it any better? I don't really know. Extreme weather makes me feel alive. To be comfortable while the storm rages is a powerful feeling.

Drivers hate bad weather, even though (or maybe because) they're not out in it. They're in another world in their hermetically sealed metal boxes. The weather is irrelevant except as far as it inconveniences their commute. We had a big storm a few years ago where roads were impassible and people were getting stranded in their cars. I walked home happily, enjoying the wild weather.

I remember storms during winter climbs in the mountains, where you could hear the wind gathering and building in the distance, growing as it approached until it blasted you like a freight train. It's best from a snow cave that you know won't be blown away. A tent is ok too, but you're never quite sure if it's going to hold. And getting out in the middle of the night to shovel snow that's threatening to collapse it can be an adventure in itself.

As I grow older I find myself reminiscing more. When I was young I used to feel sorry for "old" people that valued their memories so much. When you're young, the past holds little of interest or value, the future is everything. I'm still excited about the future, but I no longer think there's anything to feel sorry for about valuing one's past. I've been fortunate to do a lot of things with my life, but so have we all, in one way or another. We all have moments we cherish. To ignore the past is to throw away an increasing portion of our lives.

I have this habit of trying to identify times when I can honestly tell myself "it doesn't get much better than this". I don't mean trying to identify the "peak" moments of my life. It might "only" be sitting in the sun enjoying a cup of coffee, it might "just" be watching a sunrise, it might be walking home in a snow storm. I try to recognize as many of these moments as I can. To "catch" them, if only ever so briefly. To not let them slip by unnoticed. Because life is glorious, and all too often wasted. I could have wasted my walk home, grumbling to myself about the weather. Instead, I loved it, and I brought back happy memories of other times in other storms. It doesn't get much better than that.

1 comment:

  1. I have always loved wild weather, too, and enjoyed reading your blog about it. Interesting how we see the world differently as we age.