We walked out the door of Early Winters with our Gore-Tex rain gear in hand. The hike had been planned, and our tactics included preparation for the normally inclement northwest weather. Our destination was a trail head in the Mt. Rainier National Park. Yet ironically, the late fall afternoon was a picture perfect sunny and 80 degrees, as Mitch and I set out and traversed the trail enjoying the bright autumn freshness. We walked along the well-worn path proudly in our Asolo boots, blue jeans and tee-shirts— Antron-wool jackets tied around our waist; rain gear safely locked in the trunk of our car. No need for this we surmised.
“Man plans and God laughs.” I would recall my ex-Mother-in-Law’s decidedly and legendary declaration in just about any crisis, or particularly challenging situation. I believe she tried to make sense out of the unexplainable situation before her—but beyond the knowing handed it over as somehow God’s plan. Several hours into the hike, and too far to turn back, threatening clouds moved in above us. A light sprinkle from the grey and darkening sky didn’t deter our optimistic attitude, determined to enjoy our weekend hike, new equipment and getaway out of the city, we headed farther up the trail.
I guess at some level it was “the plan” because we got wet and wetter with a now heavy rain falling and the temperature dropping rapidly fueled by the wind which blew fiercely through the large evergreen trees and underbrush. Soaked and steaming both, we paused under a small overhang and wrung the water from our jackets. It was time to find a place for our small North Face tent and get dry. Tomorrow was another day I thought, as we fired up our tiny stove for dinner and tried our best to dry our sodden jeans on the now hot rocks near the fire.
We fell asleep that night with the wind and rain beating against the tent, safe in the cocoon of our golden-yellow nylon dome. I awoke once to surprising silence during my slumber. Reassured, I fell back to sleep confident, the sun-drenched weather would return come daybreak. However, what greeted us several hours later when we unzipped the door to our tent was a blanket of snow everywhere; silence and beauty, cold and stark. I was astonished and panicked all at the same time.
Everything looks so different covered under a blanket of white; similar to darkness in some ways—except the snow was not going to reveal anything new and familiar as the daylight came. A sudden 360 degree reevaluation of our situation was necessary. Our sunny carefree weekend had turned potentially dangerous and, it was time to head out—back home to safety and civilization.
Looking back all those years ago, my weekend hike seemed easy in comparison to the trails I have traversed during my life since. So often and with the best intentions, we make plans about our future. Everything seems to be in order when we get soaked and cold and our jeans get burnt on the rocks trying to be dried out or just like the surprise snowfall—nothing looks familiar or safe. We are lost and fearful or angry–sad or hurt. Change is like that. A divorce, an illness or a death (expected or not) can give us the opportunity to look at life in an entirely new way, just as that snowfall did on that fateful hike. At each juncture of the trail, nightfall or snowfall we have the choice to fall up or fall down.
What I’ve learned for myself and what I teach others now is, when you get caught in the snow storm, make snow angels. I am inspired by an inner strength to help others; the necessity for openness and reevaluation and the questioning of old ways and thoughts. For myself, when I could see my circumstances with new eyes and new understanding—I grew in a passionate, positive and transformative ways.
The benefits become a gift of transmuting a loss to a new and fresh star for you. If you or someone you know wants to learn how to make snow angels in the warm tropical sandy beach of south Florida, I extend a personal invitation to visit my website where you can explore a signature program I have designed expressly for you to heal, grow, understand and transform your loss and grief to sand Angels with large wings.
Visit: www.soultosoulretreat.com ▪ 5 powerful life-changing days filled with love and purpose.
“Inspired Wellness from Within”
Cathy Silver, HC, AADP