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“Dad, I can’t wait for the Snow !!”

-written by Scott Lembitz, Co-Director, Earth Spirit

How refreshing to hear these words, “Dad, I can’t wait for the snow!!!” The two 9 yr. old little Mountain girls that share my journey, hammer me with Questions: “What’s my favorite season?”, “How much snow are we going to get?”, “How many icicles can we eat?”, “When can we build a Quinzee, Papa? “Can we wear the wooden snowshoes this year?”. The answers are simple: “Winter”,” Hopefully a ton!”, “As many as you can before you get permanent Brain Freeze” and “As soon as Old Man Winter shares enough of the good stuff with us!” and “Of course you can, they have been waiting for you!”. These are the dreams of children, pure enthusiasm au natural. The child helps us to remember rand cherish the joy and magic found in every blanket of snow.

Having the good fortune to be a naturalist and a father of twins has been one of the greatest gifts that I could ever have dreamed of. The winter season has become a sacred season welcoming us to frolic in a place that can ignite our imagination and passion. A magical place that has been transformed by snow, aligning my spirit with the beautiful, wonder-filled spirits of my little girls. The poetry we find in winter’s solace is endless. The mysteries of the creatures are now available to us, left behind in the soft white canvas that covers the land. Earth Spirit will be heading out to West Falls Park on January 22, from 10:00am -12:30pm to explore one of our favorite forests, to work on some basic snowshoe skills and to connect with families and friends who share the same winter loving spirit. We will meet in the main lot, outfit you with snowshoes and share a wonderful adventure!

Snow stories. To be able to read the stories left for us in the snow allows us to access a living library. Often these stories melt away quickly as cold days begin to warm in the sun. But sometimes we are fortunate to get out into the crisp winter air at just the right time where every snowy impression is clearly seen. Some of my favorite “Reading” occurs when a frigid night has frozen the snows surface into near ice then by some perfect alignment a scant dusting of fluff is laid down. This creates one of the best situations to clearly track wildlife and walk, briefly through their life’s journey. Craters, tunnels, explosions of powder, crisscross track lines meeting, giant wing beats brushing the powder leaving their impression behind!” What happened Dad!!” “Who leaves the Y shape in the snow?” “Are there claws or not in this one, Dad?” I giggle a little as their questions tickle the sleuth in me! We can unravel these mysteries together!! Join us on the morning of February 10th. We will bring the snowshoes, you bring your detective hats and we will “Read” some exciting stories of the wildlife that surrounds us.

“Dad, my hands are frozen!”,” Is an igloo easy to make”, “Is it okay to eat snow if I’m thirsty?’’, ‘’ When is it time for hot cocoa, I’m tired?’’. These are all good questions, right? Well you guessed it these are all questions from my twins. In a roundabout way they all lead me back to the topic of winter survival. I remember reading “To build a Fire “by Jack London. What a powerful story dealing with life and death in the frigid wilderness. On February 24 we are heading out to the Chafee Preserve from 10:00am-12:30, to work on some basic winter survival skills that will help create a better sense of comfort with nature. This is a family friendly affair so bring out the kids and your warmest winter gear and let’s see what kind of Snow shelter we can create together!! Don’t’ worry, we will actually get our winter blaze cooking to help us stay warm!!

Hope the Holidays are filled with the Magic of Winter and the Love of Family!