I believe it was around 1985 when we first packed up post-Christmas and joined with three other families to a rented lodge up in the Sierras. The “snow trip” quickly became an annual tradition, our five-day taste of real winter before returning to a San Francisco with magnolia trees already beginning to bloom. Five days filled with skiing (downhill and cross-country), sledding, snowshoeing, snowman-building, snowball fights, walks out in a winter wonderland. And then the anticipated return at the end of the day to the roaring fire and steaming cups of hot chocolate and kitchen filling with dinner smells and board games and hearts games and charades and storytelling and singing and silent reading and jigsaw puzzles. A community life with kids as babies, toddlers and beyond growing to teenagers and then young adults. It was glorious, wet, exhausting and exhilarating and in retrospect, don’t know how we ever did it!
As kids went to college, the tradition wavered, but carried on until the early 2000’s and then changed to the closer and snowless West Point Inn on Mt. Tam in Marin County. Two days instead of five, but still the same people and the same spirit and the same frustration when the same guy always shoots the moon in Hearts! Now those kids are in the 30’s and Zadie the first of the new generation coming up (though more on the way). And isn’t it fine to create and maintain these traditions that mark the passing of time and fill it with stories of the blizzard and the snowless year in the Sierras and the New Year’s resolutions shared around mulled wine and spiced cider.
And so that’s where I’m off to now, slipping in this blog before going off the grid for three days and looking forward to the remarkable view from the front porch and the hike through live oaks and rolling hills and catching up on everyone’s news and gathering the threads of the year before turning to the new one with renewed energy. Refreshed by the encouragement of plants and stars and morning sunrise over distant San Francisco. Fishing in the deep pool of the natural world and the human community to feed the future.
See you in a few days!