If there’s anything that living in the Pacific Northwest has taught me, is that one should be ready for absolutely anything, at any given moment. The weather is the biggest factor in this analogy, but it’s also the land, the coast, the ocean, the mountains – all these factors change continuously throughout the day, even the hour. Temperatures are frigid in the morning, and then warm up to t-shirt weather by afternoon. Drive 45 minutes in any direction and the land might be covered in snow or a dry desert.
Having always been a procrastinator, who waits until the very last minute of any deadline given, it’s taken me a while to become accustomed to this temperament. After a major and unpredicted snowfall yesterday, my daughter begged me to go sledding, and I, “busy” as I was, told her, “the snow will be here tomorrow, let’s go tomorrow after school”. Sure enough, overnight, the snowfall turned into rain, and almost everything has melted.
Doing things tomorrow isn’t why people live here.
If the sun is shining, which is rare this time of year, you will see everyone outside, enjoying the weather. Going for hikes, riding bike trails, bouldering cliffs, taking the babies out in strollers – don’t get me wrong, these crazy West Coasters also do many of these things in the rain, like jogging, especially, is a rain or shine or snow or slush sport around here, but after a long day of rain, when that sun comes out, people take advantage.
I was not one of those people. I had schedules. To-do lists. Things that needed to be done. Just because the sun was shining didn’t mean we would run outside to play, I would assume, wrongfully most of the time, that it would still be around later. To really enjoy living here, I had much to learn.
There’s a silly expression in ski towns: “No Friends on a Pow Day.” I say silly because it’s kind of controversial in ski mags and videos lately – most people agree that skiing or snowboarding is more fun when with friends. The flip side is this: When the opportunity of a fresh snowfall arises, are you going to wait for someone to get out of bed, wait to meet with your friends, or are you going to rush out and take advantage of the first ski lift – yes, you’re alone – but it’s incredible to ski down untouched terrain. It’s all about seizing and enjoying that moment, ultimately for yourself.
For 2013 there’s nothing more that I want than to be those people, out there, enjoying the sunshine even when there might be a list of chores to get done or an impending deadline on their minds. I want to savour those last few moments of daylight before it gets dark. I want to watch for shooting stars on a clear night, even if it’s cold out. I want to grab my skis on a pow day and feel the fresh, cold air against my skin and not think of anything else in that moment.
What’s your new years resolution?