This afternoon we took a short ride into the mountains while it was snowing. The flakes of snow were fat wet cold kisses on our skin. I felt like I was being attacked by tiny hyper winter sprites. The mountains barely opened their eyes to acknowledge our existence. They looked sleepy and comfortable under their thickening soft blankets. The bulk of them played hide and seek with us in the snowstorm.
Ben rode ahead of me, the metal barrel of a rifle strapped across his chest. He was hoping to find caribou, unaware of us because of the sound dampening snow. Instead we found flocks of ptarmigan. They blended perfectly with the snow and rocky tundra, and when they took flight it looked as if the ground itself took flight, leaping up to meet the falling snow in a frenzy of feathers and barking. The sounds they make are very disturbing. Their loud harsh repetitive sounds were made, I'm sure, to surprise predators and give them a few more seconds to disappear into the landscape. Still they make me smile with their furry feet and ninja like moves.
We drove a few miles into a beautiful valley. On a rise Ben turned off his snowmachine and dusted off some rocks. He was telling me about how he had planned his proposal to me. The long speech. The timing. He was telling me how I had instead prompted him to propose ahead of time. Some random comment I made I'm sure. As he cleared the snow from the stones on the ground they read "Marry me." I felt guilty for a second. Till he came over a smiled.
It happened how it was supposed to happen I'm sure of it. But that valley will always be marked by our story.
The ride home was just as soft and subdued by snow. I was still trying to get a feel for my new/old snowmachine. It sat a little low and stiff for my tastes. It felt like I was trying to ride a child's mattress on end as we floated through the powdered snow. I never really felt at ease riding them like everyone else. Just like a village kid I grew up driving them all winter, but more than likely I would end up crashing the stupid things. Not anything major, just alot of tipping over or perching it on a pointy mound. I did enjoy the challenge of driving them, the control and relaxing of muscles, the attempt at predicting the trail ahead. But to me it is like a game of tennis, whereas to Ben it was like reuniting with an old friend.
Watching him ride ahead of me always made me smile. I'm sure he could have fallen asleep with his finger on the gas and his instincts and finely tuned reactions would carry him for miles. Sometimes he would find an especially deep section of snow and tip the snowmachine on it's side as he balanced on it's edge. Show off.
But we are all gifted in certain areas. I swear that I traded any talent with baking bread for my artistic insight and persistence. A healer once told me that she traded her ability to make eskimo ice cream for a healers hand. Maybe the world really works that way. And only the truly happy people realize it.