This morning, as we checked social media over breakfast, we saw posts and photos of the first snowfall of the season in the Midwest. We remember those days with fond memories – the peacefulness that comes from shoveling snow in the evening when the world is quiet; the joy of making snow angels (even if you are long past being a kid); the warmth that comes from cooking something hearty for dinner; the happiness of playing games while a fire burns in the fireplace.
While I’m not saying I have a strong desire to go back and relive these memories by moving back into the snow belt, I can appreciate the pleasure that many friends and family felt today experiencing the first snowfall of the season.
In our little corner of paradise, we opted to go out and ‘shovel sunshine’ – a term we learned from some Arizona desert-dwelling friends and family. Besides clearing the gutters in preparation of the winter rains and sweeping up the few fallen leaves that were scattered about the patio, we decided to ‘hike up the hill’.
The ‘hike up the hill’ is our description for walking a little over a mile up (and then the mile back down) along a one-lane road fairly close to our house that goes up and over the Hayward Fault in northern California. It’s a quick and easy escape into nature that is a stone’s throw from town. We can go, make the hike, grab groceries on our way back and still be home before lunch time to enjoy the rest of the day.
Many people in the area do this hike regularly as the road makes for a nice paved trail and, being one-lane, hardly any cars ever use it. Once the highways were built in the area, it just became easier to drive the extra half mile to go around rather than risk having to navigate backing up into a turn around should two vehicles try to pass through at the same time. We appreciate that.
The trail (road) winds through a quiet canyon with tall trees, California oaks and a small stream way down in the very bottom. Over the years, we have seen deer, wild turkeys, vole, a variety of birds of prey and one time a bobcat even crossed our path.
No, we no longer have the opportunity to find peace in the nighttime shoveling of snow but I am happy with our substitute – shoveling sunshine by hiking in a peaceful California canyon. Happy, that is, until the next time the earth decides to seriously rumble. Then maybe I’ll opt back in to those Midwestern snowfalls!