Nov. 23, 2022 — On Saturday afternoon, I pulled on a thick fire-red shirt and an orange hat and grabbed my skis for the first time this year. I drove to my favorite spot to backcountry telemark ski and studied the woods to make sure there were no hunters to disturb. Normally, I would be avoiding these deep woods, but the recent snows are too perfect to pass up. I ski up to the scenic hill that I have been coming to for 20 years. The snow-filled wind blasts me at the top.
There is something consuming about making smooth impromptu turns down a steep hill though trees spread out like gates. All the while, I duck under head-high branches and bounce over sleeper logs hidden under the snow. I hit a drift and fall and lay in the powder and feel the snowflakes softly land on my face. I ski up and down a dozen runs till my legs get wobbly from the exercise. It is time to head out.
It is Wednesday morning now, and as the sun lights the day, I see blue skies and what seems like a mystical sparkle of frozen fog crystals floating over the lake. Underneath the fog, the first crust of ice on Little Traverse Lake reflects the sunrise like a mirror. It is all nearly too bright to look at. To stretch this morning out, I take Sonny to Lake Michigan for a hunterless walk on Good Harbor beach. A park ranger is just leaving the parking lot. I have the whole beach. The solitude is a feast. The silence is delicious. Thanksgiving has started. This viewscape, with the evergreens, snow, sand and water has kicked me right into the holiday season. It was like I walked into a living Christmas card. I stop and take a photo.
And I post this photo thinking that it might help give a few others the wonderful kickstart to the holidays it gave me.