"Searched high and world for a place in could lay my burdens down/
Ain't noting in the whole wide world like the peace that I have found.
It's the little things/and the joy it brings." - India Arie, "Little Things"
Rounding the corner on the mountain road, we were sure there was not going to be any snow.
Which was problematic, since the photo shoot called for snow. A lot of it.
But after flying for five hours and driving for two, the brown hairpin turns dotted with closed up diners were making me worried. There was no snow in sight and we were scheduled to shoot that afternoon.
Backing up: it had been a miserable week. A sick four-year old. And being beaten about by the general unpleasantries of [the things I am not really supposed to write about].
Snow was closing in on Birmingham, yet here, a few states to the north, there was nothing more than an icicle on an abandoned factory. Not photo shoot material.
But here I was in this white Suburban, hurdling toward nothing but not snow, thinking of much. My sick four year old, snuggled with his grandparents, watching movies. Of two exhausting days in the office, days that left me depleted and writing furiously with the ink pen as I flew past Georgia, South, and North Carolina.
Five weeks of a sick child. Two and a half years of uncertainty. And the kind of life that lead people to say, "That must be so fun!" and "you have found balance!"
They did not see me collapse into the big brown velvet couch at 8 pm many nights, frustrated. Or my left arm, weakened by shingles (stress-related). Sometimes I went to the parking deck to cry. But I usually wiped it off and climbed right back up the stairs.
The bathroom attendant in Charlotte was always a surprise, with her cellophane mints, and cheerful greeting. She pushed open the stall doors, saying, "first class right here, ladies." I always wanted to have singles on me during these moments and never did.
But back to the mountain, where I sat in the passenger side and hoped against hope that maybe there was indeed snow at our destination. Maybe hope against hope. Should I have called? Did I do something wrong? There had to be snow. But all we saw were the winter trees, barren.
When we pulled up to the resort we asked the bellman. "Oh, there is snow."
"Please let there be snow," I thought, wondering if we could get a flight home the next day.
There would be a look. My colleague and I piled back into The Suburban to see The Snow. We made some quick turns, passed quiet estates. Then, "to your right."
A hill covered in the most perfect powder white snow. Yeah, maybe Mother Nature was being helped by the snow guns pumping a constant powder.
But ... there it was. Crunching through it, my shoes celebrated every inch of blinding frozen H20. Perfect snow so white that stretched so far it nearly hurt my eyes to look at it all.
Oh what, there's more? I am climbing aboard a snowmobile wearing the same jeans I wear to daycare and the library and the office. But those jeans are straddling a seat, and I am flying up the side of this mountain, holding onto a small strap as the real snow that comes down whips to hell all the stress that came before. I am not wearing a hat, nor gloves, and feel a bit reckless.
I feel like a spy in a James Bond movie. Where was the worm hole that let me in on this adventure?
Moving higher, I try to push my huge sunglasses over my eyes, but there is no need.
There's no sun, but fake snow and real snow and real joy.
I haven't ridden a snowmobile since seventh grade on a family trip. I had altitude sickness then, and surely a gorgeous blonde ski instructor I was clinging too had to pull over so I could throw up in the woods. So not "Sweet Valley High." Then, I was a skinny bookworm, scared of the elements.
Now: still a bookworm, kind of scared, not skinny.
There are some prayers said on that mountainside. I am after all, a mama.
Plus, I so desperately wanted to tell people what it was like to be on that snowmobile, 24 hours after I cried driving home.
The snow pelted me, washed me of what I had endured. Nearly replaced it with giggles and pure abandon. Here I am, the Doubting Thomas converted. One turn on the side of the mountain, a mass of snow.
With words unrestricted.
In the coldest places, feeling is restored.