It seems that I’ve been consciously chasing this idea of simple freedoms. Maybe chasing isn’t the right word to use, but more of a seeking. I’m not even sure if it’s freedom that I’m seeking, it’s something bigger and just within my reach. There’s something very unique about being self-aware of these moments. If I’m lucky enough I catch a glimpse of these moments of stillness, realizing that I’m part of something bigger. They can happen at home while I’m washing dishes in the evening—hands warm in the sink, dishing clanking; riding my bike through a winding trail in the woods—light streaming through the trees; skiing at night enveloped in the glow of my headlamp, or simply shoveling my driveway under a clear, starry sky. I crave these moments and I think I always have, it’s just that I’m more aware of them than ever before. I’m sure there’s another word or definition of what this is, but once you get a taste of it, you’ll start to seek it out more often.
On Thursday, I headed out for an afternoon ski. It was a struggle of a ski to say the least as the conditions were pretty poor. I didn’t get my fix of skiing, my fix of freedom. I cut the ski short and decided to climb up Ely’s Peak to watch the sun go down. A simple act of watching the sun slip beneath the horizon is a favorite ritual for me. It’s even better if I’m outside in one of my favorite spots. As I hiked up the rocks, my memory was jogged. I used to do this all the time growing up in Virginia. I would drive up to the Laurentian Divide, hike up to my favorite spot, sit there and watch the world around me. Some things never change I guess. I’m still the same girl I was back in the day, running a little bit wild, a little bit free. Maybe I was seeking the same thing I was back then that I am today. It’s just taken me 20-some years to sort of figure it out. I’m still trying.
I took Friday off as well and found myself headed up the shore to ski and pick agates for the day. I found what I was looking for. A beautiful morning of solitary skiing. I always like to seek out a bit of adventure, too. I packed my backpack with some water, snacks, extra wax and my camera. I skied for almost four hours. Up and over hills, listening to the silence of the winter woods beckoning me further and further along the trail. The agate picking afterwards was pretty slim, but the beauty and blue expanse of Lake Superior always brings me back to center.
The rest of the weekend was spent at the cabin. There’s no better place to have a simple, relaxing weekend away from the buzzing of phones and emails. We skied the lake while the sun was setting, gathered buckets of water for the sauna and sat around drinking beverages with my family. It was a perfectly simple weekend. On Sunday, my brother and I skied into a remote lake. We were moments behind a pack of wolves and knew that they were only yards away watching us from the safety of the woods. My brother started to howl for them and then his dog, Otto, did too. Their heads tiled toward the sky letting out a lonely croon. They stopped and we silently observed for any signs of life coming from the pack’s direction. The snow crunched in the distance and our skin prickled. It happened again, I found what I was looking for.