The first heavy snow fall always reminds me of my father. It was his belief the first snow was one that would determine the winter for cross-country skiing. He dreamed of the fresh powder which allowed you to glide with ease across the open trails in the winter time.
After a really good storm we would tie our skies to back of the car and drive off to the ski club. At that age I didn’t appreciate the beauty, the silence, or the fresh scent of pine cones along the trail. My poor father would hear the lamenting of a ten-year old complaining of cold feet and ice-cold cheeks.
It was my father’s promises of hot chocolate and warmth in the ski lodge that kept me moving along the trail. The first sip always burning the tongue but the rich warmth of the flavor would engulf my whole body. The times spent by the wood stove we would chat and warm-up munching on the baked cookies my mom had made for our trip. It was these special moments in time that take me back to a special place with my Father.
Only years later with the birth of my two sons you could see the twinkle in my Father’s eyes and I knew he was waiting for the perfect age to take them out on their own set of skies. They were only toddlers and not quite ready! But if he had his way they would have been on skies the moment they began to walk. Sadly, he never got the chance to take them out on the open trail and share the warmth of a hot chocolate in the wooden lodge.
It was the year before my father passed away he logged over 1200 kilometers on his cross-country skies and it was his perfect winter. He hung his certificate with beaming pride looking forward to another great season. Sadly, he never got to relive that moment of glory.
On his last night on earth we stood by his bed side and looking out at the gentle snowfall – it was a skier’s dream. It was at his last moments of breath I envisioned him with his backpack skiing through the starry ski and reaching up to heaven above.
It is now when I am skiing with my own kids I feel the warm glow of the sun glisten through the trees and it feels as if my dad is watching down over us. It’s at those moments my heart warms just a little more and I reflect on the beauty of winter memories.
How do you honor the spirit of loved ones who have passed? Do you feel their spirit with you in your heart?