Perhaps it’s because I live under a wonderful assembly of rocks, but before this March of 2018, I had never heard the term “Miracle March” used outside the context of college basketball. Apparently, it’s a thing though. In some years, winter comes and goes without so much as a tease of snow, but somehow March behaves differently. Several of my friends who have spent more time in outdoorsy places than I have tell me it’s not an unheard of phenomenon.
This past year’s almost non-winter caused me to give up any hope I may have had for one of my favorite activities: Cross Country skiing. Not to mention, I also had given up on what I considered to be my dream job, Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Hiking Guide. The job depended on the snow, but before March swung around Yosemite did not have enough for skiing. Maybe I gave up too soon, however, I had no way of knowing at the time.
Somehow, seemingly out of nowhere, Yosemite received two freak storms with enough snow to blanket the landscape and open the Yosemite Nordic Center for cross country skiing on the weekends. I could not have been more thrilled. It genuinely was a miracle. Finally, I thought, I would be able to start my dream job – even if it only lasted for a few weeks.
Unfortunately, the Yosemite Nordic Ski Center that I would have been working out of only opened in a very limited capacity and did not need a full staff because it was opening so late in the season. As a result, the guide position I had lined up still did not become active after all.
Ouch. I felt like I had been kicked below the waist.
Zero fun. As a result, the snowy weather I loved so much seemed only to taunt me with its beauty. I was conflicted and confused beyond my own internal understanding and lacked any capacity to fully comprehend the miraculous magic of the snow-covered Yosemite mountains. For reasons I can’t fully explain, I chose to chase after them anyway. Mostly, I think that I hoped being outdoors would help me process my confusion.
My buddy Jake and I mobbed out to the Yosemite Nordic Center and after a helping hand from our friends there we were soon on snowy ski terrain. Eventually with enough movement of my legs on skis over snow, by mind thawed and I knew this was something truly and remarkably special. As I glided along, I began to remember moments of the snowless winter that would not have been possible without the season’s absence of frozen precipitation. One memory became particularly prevalent in my mind: my backpacking trip to Taft Point. While there, I received the sunset without any other parties present. A Taft Point sunset in solitude. The memory has since become a "moment of a lifetime" to me.
Our ski trip could not have been better, honestly, and the profound healing effect it had on me took me some time to fully realize. The internal reflection that our time on skis allowed me could not have occurred any other way - the true miracle of the day. I realized that for the majority of that “winter” my heart and soul had been in a deep, dark place, both consciously and unconsciously. I wanted the consistent snow that my dream job inherently depended upon so desperately that it left me too profoundly disoriented to navigate anything else that might play out. Some might call how I subconsciously felt “entitlement”. If I am truly honest with myself, I think they are right.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy... Do you believe in miracles?