I still remember sitting in that YMCA conference room last March, my third day of training for this new job and just my fourth day living in Asheville. I stared out the giant bay windows, mesmerized by flaky snow drifting downward from a vast gray expanse.
This city I’d only ever known for summer camps and tanktops now threw me a new, wintry contrast.
Last year’s snowfall only produced a thin dusting, and it wouldn’t snow the rest of the year. Wouldn’t snow again until just this past weekend when the Blue Ridge got hit with much more than a thin dusting.
Everywhere I look, everything’s been erased. A new month, a new year, blanketed in white.
A lot has happened from snowfall to snowfall. A lot of triumphs and a lot of failings. A lot of adventures and visitors and new friends, and a lot of slogs and strangers and disconnect.
In one sense, I’ve lived many lifetimes from snowfall to snowfall; in another, I might as well have never even stepped out the front door.
A second book?
Where are those a year later?
Long ago, winter and snowfall spurred certain adventure in me — snow pants and snowmen and socks drying over heating vents. But now, winter just hurts. Something to survive, not embrace.
Winter forces us indoors. Winter squelches adventure. Winter locks us in and threatens us with weeks or months of isolation.
And, mind you, this is just a North Carolina winter I’m referencing. I can’t even imagine if I had moved to Milwaukee two years ago — my cries eternally frozen beneath Lake Michigan.
Being without a vehicle for two months now, I am feeling winter’s claws gripping tighter around me. Binding me to a city without escape. To hardened patterns in ice I cannot break. To a cold, old life longing to be revived.
How long? I ask.
How long until spring?
How long until dreams realized?
How long until relationships restored?
How long until an open road weaving into mountains yet explored?
Everywhere I look:
Fresh snow entrapping me.
Fresh snow begging for footprints.