This morning I went snowshoeing. In the wilderness that surrounds my home in Idaho.
I saw no one.
The sky was a pure indigo blue. If that’s the right descriptor. The color of a hand-dyed linen shift you might see on a young girl in southern India.
There were no clouds.
The snow fields I was walking through were untrodden. And stretched as far as the eye could see. It was like I was walking across an enormous vanilla frosted cake. The kind of frosting that’s put on with a wide wooden knife. Making swaths of freshly applied confection.
I was alone.
I crossed the river on a small wooden bridge. It narrowly stretched to my left until it became one with its borders of snow. Most of it had been iced over. Sidelined by small plateaus of icy color. Some white. Some a light, violet gray. Some an inky black. I knew the colors meant something. But I didn’t know what.
A bird…a very small bird…kept jumping in and out of the water from an icy precipice on the north side of the river. I watched. Wasn’t that bird frozen with each small leap. How did it keep up this certain folly. And why.
I walked through a meandering copse of lodgepole pines. I recognized them from their skeletal trunks. And stone black bark.
They allowed me a path through their midst. Couching last night’s snowfall in their branches. A barely discernable crystalline mist filled the air.
I was awestruck by this environment. A wonderland of unspeakable beauty.
I have tried to describe it to you. But there are really no words. My vocabulary doesn’t stretch to allow it.
So I must quietly accept this gift. Take it in. The permanence of what my eyes have seen and my heart can embrace.
E.B. White once said, “Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”
I hadn’t been on the lookout. I had been taken aback.
But these were the words I was seeking.
The presence of wonder.