This year the kids and I and my family spent the week between Christmas and New Years up in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire, skiing at Loon Mountain. It was not my first trip up that mountain, nor will it be my last. I have many fond memories as a child spending time there and I just love it, my kids do too.
Being there reminded me of a particular day that I spent with my great uncle, “Bump”, skiing on Cannon Mountain. I was just 19 and he was 84. And what a great day it was…
It was Christmas break and I was home during my first year of college. The sky was a vivid blue with not a cloud in it. The sun shone bright, and the temperature was warm for a winter day early in January, especially for the mountains. The low-lying high altitude vegetation was so sparkly almost glowing from the little ice crystals that had stuck to their branches.
I clearly remember Bump and I standing at the head of the ski trail on the top of Cannon Mountain. We looked out over the expanse of the neighboring and distant mountains, taking it all in. It was an absolutely breath-taking view, one that you can’t always plan for on any given day in the mountains.
There we stood, me at 19, and Bump at 84. I was thinking about all of the great things that I had to look forward to in my life, as he was thinking about all of the great things that he had done with his.
The year was 1994, there was no smart phone to be pulled out to snap a picture…a picture that could never duplicate to any extent the specialness of that moment.
That beautiful, glorious day was the last time that I skied with Bump, and I believe that it was his last day skiing ever. How lucky it was for us to share it together, in a special place.
Over the years, since that day, every time I saw Bump, he would always talk about that moment up on Cannon. “Do you remember the day we skied down Cannon, Catherine? Oh what a beautiful day…” I would nod, and listen to him reminisce. The whole family, I know, got sick of hearing about it, and for years it has been a family joke.
I always laugh fondly, but it isn’t a joke to me. On that day, it was just me and Bump, and all of it. All of it…
I took every ounce of the moment in. I can see it and feel it as plain as if it happened yesterday.
Beyond the clear view, the crystals on the vegetation, and the stark whiteness of the snow, what I remember most was the beauty of the silence. It was a perfectly quiet, reflective moment shared between 2 people. There we were, Bump and I, at 2 different ends of life, experiencing something that was great, to each of us, in our own way. Our paths converged on Cannon Mountain that day …magic.
Here’s to finding great moments in 2017. Be still. Leave your phone in your pocket. Be there, open to the moment.
I promise, if it’s magical, you will never forget…