Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Winter Way

I've always been one to believe that if you don't like winter, its because you're not spending enough time outside experiencing it. Some people may find this idea irrational or overplayed... and of course I enjoy bundling up inside and ignoring the freezing reality outside too, but the idea is a simple one. To enjoy something you must experience it for what it is unaffected. It wasn't in my immediate adulthood that I came to terms with this but perhaps I was close to understanding as a child and early teenager. Like most I used to play in the snow for hours, at times even scrapping all the snow and ice off the sidewalk so I could still ride my rollerblades. When I was younger I never viewed the snow and cold temperatures as an inconvenience, but rather a new challenge to overcome or embrace. When I grew out of the rollerblades there was my snowboard waiting for me, when my feet grew too large for my boots I had just received my drivers license, and when the roads got boring there was always plenty of unplowed parking lots to practice doughnuts in... But after a few years of permission from the state to drive, I had realized I had been sucked deep into a trap of monotony and over convenience. Driving was no longer fun; it had become a necessary evil, my chore, and my vex.

The bicycle soon became my means of year round transportation, and winter was now my newest and most inspiring of challenges. My daily commute was longer than it had ever been during my years of growing up at home, and I now preferred to pedal the distance in the same time some would spend heating up their car. Don't get me wrong, not everyday was monumental and celebrated, but as the years passed and the wheel's stayed spinning I had reached a significant understanding of the winter season.

I write this now with a new excitement having just spent the better half of my evening daydreaming about hitching a ride to Sandstone, MN to photograph ice climbing and endure winter camping in the north. A strange thing to be excited about when I break it down and think about the logistics of the whole task I'm about to attempt... I have no winter tent, and the tent I do have has a broken pole adhered together with duct-tape. I am in possession of no ice climbing gear with the exception of a climbing harness and rope with the basic things it takes to photograph. I've never winter camped before, not to mention I'm not even sure where Sandstone MN is. BUT when I ignore this details and think with the more important part of my brain I'm actually in a pretty good place... I've photographed ice climbing before. This will be a great opportunity to start the season off. I have two sleeping bags. I won't have to go to work. I get to experience an entire new reality. And I'll be able to fulfill my ambitions of embracing the winter as a source of inspiration and tranquility. Sounds like an adventure to me, I'll make sure to bring my notebook...


Jeff said...

Great entry Matt! Wish I could trek along!


scott said...

You are jah man matt!