I’m not snowshoeing. In fact, the event I intended to attend has been pushed off to March due to a dearth of snow. If it starts dumping snow in March, I’m moving to Australia.
Now, let’s be clear: I do not snowshoe well. A couple of years ago, leading up to an icy charity outing with the Bunny Stompers on the sub-freezing slopes of Stratton Mountain, Vermont, my father passed along his old snowshoes to me. He had recently upgraded to a pair with hinged bindings and, as a result, kicked significantly less snow up his back that day than I did. Needless to say, I have been determined to get the hang of this ever since.
My mind often turns to Snowshoe Thompson and his heroic treks through the Sierras on, not snowshoes, but two well-planed pieces of lumber. Which reminds me that if I ever get back to the good snow of the Western mountains, I will sincerely miss my chartreuse Peltonens, circa 1988. I loved those skis. They were my first racing pair and under good wax conditions, they flew.
But I am not in my mountains, and there is nearly no snow here this year, so I’ve sought out alternative reasons to get out of my house. That is the great challenge, I am learning, of working the way I work, studying the way I study, and being as accustomed to the solo life as I am. It is very easy for me to stay in my house, alone, for days at a time. Not healthy or wise, but easy. And so I do my best to fight the inclination.
That’s how I wound up crushed into a room with 200 of my closest strangers on Saturday. Friends had mentioned that they would be attending a local clay studio’s annual fundraiser, and I was game to go, too. So I signed myself up online, traded my tank top and sweatshirt for a turtleneck, and headed out into the great wide world. Car windows slightly cracked and country music blaring, I cruised through the grey and uncharacteristically green landscape to a sprawling structure at a crossroads in the middle of farm country.
The premise of the event is simple. Admission buys you the nifty, locally produced pottery bowl of your choice, exposure to well-performed live music, and the chance to sample five chilis from local restaurants and then have your bowl filled with the one you vote the best. What ensued was two hours of delightful company and respectable Paul Simon covers, proclaiming the merits of a sinus-clearing pork-butt and homemade chili powder concoction with tender cornbread, and admiring my sunshine-bright bowl. Altogether an excellent afternoon.
Still. I thought I’d be snowshoeing.