My Son's Secret Ice Cave


I never thought I'd give my 4-year-old an axe. I never thought I'd live anywhere cold, and I definitely didn't think that if I did, I would like it, let alone relish it. On a 13-degree afternoon with a 4:30 sunset, we took our son with us into the woods to play. Geoff rocked a very difficult ice climb, and my little boy took me to his secret ice cave. I can't believe we trusted our 4-yr-old with an ice axe, but watching him use it to navigate up the steep snowy hill and then delicately in his ice cave to chip off tiny icicles and eat them was priceless. He even let me slide down the 5-ft rock slide into the cave with him and fed me icicles. At the bottom of the cave was another arch door almost completely covered in giant icicles, and the way the sun shone through and lit up his secret hiding spot just beyond where he was licking the icicles was wild--strange, smooth, dappled rainbowy light--just magic. I think I love winter.

One of the things I love most about these few weeks of deep winter is the bluebird sky. It's so dark and deep blue; I've never seen anything like it before or since. The blue sky in the image toward the end of the day, near the bottom of this post, is not enhanced. That is the color it was.

Every day, you should hear yourself whisper, "Wow," or you're missing out. But for me, that can be the way the light is falling through the kitchen window at 2 in the afternoon. I'm easily amazed, always have been, and despite our adventurous lifestyle, I hope it's something I can keep going for our kids. I think it leads to perpetual curiosity and investigation, which lead to knowledge, happiness, or both.

When I was a senior in high school, we had to submit quotes for the yearbook to go by our pictures. Mine was: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust