“Don’t put your whole weight down,” said Dad as he walked easily atop the crust of the snow.
“What do you mean?” I asked, annoyed by the fact that I was falling through up to my hips with every third or fourth step. And of course, once I’d fallen through the icy veneer, it took many many fails before I stood on top again. And that kind of thing annoys the stuffing out of a person.
And then I’d take a few gentle steps, trying to weigh less because apparently it was another one of those adult things I didn’t know. One step. Still on top. Two steps. Good. Three steps. Take a breath. Four- BAM! I’d fall through again. Back to square one, up to my hips in snow as Dad sauntered along unhindered.
He was a grown man. I was an angry little kid in a snowmobile suit.
How did he do it?
To this day – I. don’t. know.
Of course there are such things as snowshoes. I have them and I do love snowshoeing. It’s just – for a short jaunt out to the garden or compost or whatnot, one has a little internal debate. Is it worth the trouble for such a short distance?
And we had snowshoes back then of course, (except they were beautiful things made of wood and sinews. Now, they are mean looking impossibly tiny little things made of plastic products and metal and work great.)
(Is it significant that I seem to be writing parenthetically more and more often? I’m going to Google that later.)
It’s just one of those Maine winter things. How much clothing and gear must I don to get from point A to point B? Snowshoes or tall boots? Ice grippers or do I feel lucky? Would a trip to the ER with a broken wrist be preferable to where I’m headed? Just kidding.
So even though Dad was an experienced woodsman, or maybe due to that, he wasn’t quick to strap on the old snowshoes. Easier to…levitate.
Dad only gave advice when asked, and even then he kept it brief. I can think of only one instance when he gave my sister and I an unsolicited etiquette lesson, but I’ll need to get her clearance before I share it.
Oddly, the levitating lesson has become more useful to me metaphorically. I sure as heck never learned to glide across crusty snow.
When the heavier things in life come along, I hear his words.
“Don’t put your whole weight down.”
For a moment, I’m that little kid trying to weigh a little less, trying to stay on top. I practice gliding through a situation with a lot of my self, but not all of me. Sometimes being there is enough, even if I can’t bring myself to fully experience, fully participate. This isn’t the lesson he intended, I don’t think. Nor am I certain it’s a healthy application. But it works.