Here we are. December – nearly the year 2017. Quite some time has passed since we last published. Time flies!
We both have been working and playing hard since October. Eric has traveled to Singapore, Tokyo, and more, working long hours both at home and overseas. I have helped orchestrate a 1,000+ person international snow and science conference (ISSW), the Colorado Snow and Avalanche Workshop, and the largest fundraising event for Friends of CAIC, the Benefit Bash, raising $100,000 for our state’s avalanche center.
October was a month full of van weekend-ing, climbing, mountain biking, and running, wrapped up with a simple policemen and pirate wench Halloween. November, we climbed and biked some more, enjoying the “Indian Summer” (it is rare for dry trails to exist in Breckenridge mid-November!). Eric met the rest of my amazing family in Iowa. We celebrated my 29th birthday with 29 pitches of climbing in a day. We had Thanksgiving next to a campfire following a day of warm climbing with old and new friends – then proceeded to ski our first runs in cold snow.
And now, here we are. In December. We have received nearly six feet of snow since the month’s start. Six feet! The skiing has been phenomenal and we have enjoyed morning skins* at the Breckenridge Ski Resort and a few outings into the backcountry, skiing snow up to our waists (that’s hard work). With that six feet of snow, we have dug and pulled out three cars (including our beloved van) and shoveled/snow-blowed every last inch from our driveway and stairs. Sound like a lot of work? It is. But what a small price to pay for living in such a dreamy place!
*For my friends and family that are not entirely sure what ‘skinning’ means when it comes to skiing: Skinning requires alpine touring equipment; meaning, different boots and ski bindings in comparison to what you would see on a normal ski at a resort. Alpine touring bindings and boots allow you the ability to ‘hike’ with your skis attached to your feet. The term ‘skinning’ refers to the act of placing a gear piece, called skins, to the bottom of your skis, which allow you to hike uphill. Skins are simply a piece of equipment that stick to the bottom of your skis to provide traction and prevent slipping.
This time of year always gets me thinking. Folks get together, enjoying holiday drinks, food, stories, and laughter. People exchange gifts, write letters and cards of appreciation, joyful wishes, and good tidings. Charity becomes a hot commodity, and everyone seems excited. The holidays certainly prompt, for certain or most people, a religious celebration, nostalgic feeling, personal traditions, giving mood, and/or genuine connection to others. It is a beautiful time, and I personally eat the holidays up in December.
Most of all, I find the holidays are a time to revisit our relationships with others and ourselves. What I find, see, and hear most? People become more open this time of year. It is a phenomenal thing to experience first-hand, or even as a simple on-looker. There seems to be more laughter, help with doors and loads, and small and large giving amongst strangers. Families come together and old friends reconnect.
What makes me pause is – why now, during the holidays, does this become a more often occurrence? I am certainly not suggesting this a terrible thing, not in any way. What I simply reflect on is — how can I carry this openness, genuine care and giving to others (strangers and not, alike) throughout the year? At today’s quick pace, it is all too easy to get caught in the whirlwind of our homes. And then, it is all too hard to admit when we have failed a friend, forgot to call a loved-one, ignored a homeless person on the street, or were rude to our grocery checker because you were having a rough day. All of us (including myself) legitimize excuses for why we are not more open – more open about our mistakes, feelings, cares, and wishes.
The holidays open us. We reflect on our mistakes, feelings, cares, and wishes. Sometimes we act on them and sometimes we do not. What I am wishing for myself and others this holiday season is the willingness and determination to carry the love throughout the next year, until the next winter holiday season. I truly believe we will discover and/or rediscover the people, moments and things that matter…and most of all, human connection.
So – this holiday season (and throughout next year), when you pick up your phone? Text a loved one or friend instead of surfing Instagram or Facebook feeds. When you grab a coffee? High five your barista and buy the guy’s coffee behind you, just because. When you go to the grocery store? Compliment your checker. When you see a stranger needing help with a load? Offer a hand, open the door, tell them…have a nice day. It can start with efforts as simple as these.
Eric and I are wishing everyone a happy holiday season and exciting new year. No, we will not be in picturesque Breckenridge for a white Christmas. Instead, we will be heading to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a few days of sun bathing, diving, surfing, and exploring. Originally we were planning on traveling to a climbing area called El Potrero Chico outside of Monterrey, Mexico for five full days of rock-fun. But, life had other plans – I currently have a strained pully in my left index finger, a common climbing injury, and only rest will help its healing. We both are bummed but, heck – with this life’s lemon, we will be making margaritas on the beach!
Happy holidays, all – until next time – ¡Feliz Navidad!