Maybe it was

I left the house early this morning on my skis, light just coming to the sky, the wind gusting from the south or maybe the east. It was hard to tell. I stopped to feed the cows, forking hay off a large round bale perched just outside their paddock. Round and round the bale I skied, prying loose the hay until I’d accumulated a sufficient pile, then skied it to the barbed wire fence, then pitched the hay to the cows, who’d stood watching the whole time in anticipation of their morning ration. Their flanks crusted in wind-driven snow.

Then into the woods, onto the same perimeter loop I’ve skied 25 or more times already this season, and probably 50 times the season before and also the season before that, so yes I know it well, but of course it’s always different, and today it was the consistency of the wind-blown snow that struck me, so silky and smooth, and I moved fast through the forest, the wind still whipping around me, clouds galloping through the dim lit sky.

Down the hill and across the mountain road, then through the cedar stand, then up the steep climb into our neighbors’ hilltop maple woods, now in full daylight, the tall maples creaking loudly in the wind, a chorus of sound from all directions, and in the midst of it I stopped for a minute just to listen, and it felt almost as if the sound was resonating through me, as if I were somehow a part of it. Or it a part of me.

And I guess maybe it was.


9 thoughts on “Maybe it was”

  1. OT sort of. Have you read any of Robert MacFarlane’s books? He’s a British writer, walker and naturalist. His writing is elegant, lyrical and thought provoking. If you haven’t read him give him a try. I think you’d appreciate him. Continue to enjoy your posts. First snow of the season here yesterday. About 1″ of slush. Your writing allows me to experience real winter in my imagination. Thanks Ben.

  2. Yes, I love that feeling of merging with everything out there, of being one. It comes over me occasionally in the summertime when the accumulated light in the afternoon fuses everything together, me included. It’s just a fleeting state of mind, I realize, and yet the feeling can’t be produced at will, it just comes when we’re open to it? A fleeting sense of total satisfaction.

  3. There is nothing quite like cross-country skiing through the woods after a fresh snow storm, hearing the swish of the skis through the snow and feeling the friction between the skis and the sharp points of the cold and virgin snow. Your description brings back memories of cross-country skiing through the sugar bush with my girl-friend when a fresh snowfall coincided with a full moon nearly 50 years ago. Please post more often than once a month, I need more vicarious New England experience.

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