This Time Every Year

 

As I write we’ve already crunched our first tracks in the snow, stepping quietly from a warm bright Autumn, full of ‘last chance’ cragging, into a new and frozen playground. We’ve even managed to grab some powder turns as an appetiser, initiating the hunger for our winter psyche.

The motivation to begin preparing for the battle ahead came unexpectedly, when thoughts of grim belay stances, dodgy snow and bleak early mornings intruded into my conscious as a result of the sudden drop in temperatures. These thoughts however were pushed aside as an avalanche of indulgence washed over me. Becoming lost in personal conquests, I let my mind recall the nourishing victories, the innocent joy of sliding around and the calming serenity of the endless white expanses.

Tuning my mind to winters rhythm doesn’t happen overnight. And it is the mind that needs to acclimatize, my body will synchronize itself to the new demands I make on it without help from my conscious, but my thoughts need to mature with that familiar resolve, the gritty determination and robustness that this frigid environment demands. It starts by plopping myself in the deep end, straight into the bleary greyness, wrestling with wind that steals your breath, instantly proving the necessity for my goggles and the ‘other worldly’ sanctuary they offer. It isn’t until now that I really start. My mind has just begun the journey, I’m readying myself, cultivating the strength, the control. Of course, we can never really be in control of our winter wonderland. All the pieces in the jigsaw are there, but sometimes the picture can be cloudy. Snow, wind, temperature, terrain, and then us. The decisions we make. Those that have us endure labored beatings to gain hard fought successes, to the close calls and the outright failures. Winter has a lawlessness about it, an impulsive and stubborn nature. It is this that I ready myself for each year, I can’t help but be drawn to the fight, intrigued to find out where my mettle lies. My resolve has hardened, I feel the pull, the psych will drift, but I’m ready for it, bring on Scottish Winter!

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