Solitude, Stillness, and Beauty

I awoke this morning to a world immersed in white.  The snow that began falling yesterday was still gently coming down and blanketing the aspen, spruce—indeed, the entire landscape, with a soft winter coat of white.  As I watched the snow fall and contemplated all of the snow shoveling that lay ahead, I checked the weather report which called for clouds clearing in the afternoon.  Since blue skies, sunshine, and freshly fallen snow provide the ideal condition for cross-country skiing, I resolved to expeditiously attend to my chores.  I didn’t want to let the “necessary” stand in the way of the “transcendental.”  Those who have experienced breaking a fresh trail in a forest adorned with new snow will understand what I mean:  Beyond the solitude, stillness, and beauty, cross-country skiing on such a day provides an immersive outdoor experience that transcends the ordinary and provides a glimpse into perfection.  It transports one into an otherworldly dimension where there is genuine peace and harmony. It provides a welcome and needed antidote for the uncertainty, unsettledness, tension, harshness, and coarseness all too prevalent in our everyday experience.  In the quiet forest, there is calm refreshment and nourishment.  Come.  Be refreshed.

cross-country skiing on the Buford-New Castle Road
Breaking trail cross-country skiing on the Buford-New Castle Road

Winter is a quiet time here at the Aspens Lodge, but is a time with incredible beauty.  Abundant options exist for enjoying the great outdoors.  Nearby cross-country ski or snowshoeing options include the Buford-New Castle Road, the road to South Fork Campground, and the delightful (and often neatly groomed) trail into the yurt at Marvine Campground.  A multitude of snowmobiling options are available in the immediate area.  Near the end of the winter maintenance on the Buford-New Castle Road, we have provided, on our property, a courtesy parking area for snowmobilers.  Old-fashioned winter fun can be had with sledding, snowball fights, and building snowmen.   And, of course, if curling up with a good book in front of the fireplace is your preferred choice, that is an option too.

The Golden Season

The Aspens Lodge sign with fall colorsDuring this season, the late afternoon sun imbues the changing leaves on the aspen trees that surround The Aspens Lodge with a mesmerizing quality.  The hillside seems alive with its shimmering carpet of sunlit yellow.  Deer graze peacefully in the yard seemingly unaware that hunting season is about to start.  If you are lucky, you may see a blue jay make a brief appearance flitting from tree to tree highlight, its brilliant blue highlighted by the backdrop of gold.  In the larger world, these are tumultuous times, but here at least nature has her act together.

It would be wonderful if this magical season could last longer than it does, but nature has its rules.  As the poet Robert Frost noted long ago,

Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief. So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.

For those searching for fall colors, options abound nearby:  Consider driving over the Buford-New Castle Road; hiking up the South Fork of the White River, trail running or riding horseback into the Marvine Lakes, kayaking on Trapper’s Lake, and driving over Ripple Creek Pass.