Navigating winter in the mountains, for those who don’t fly south, is an art form. Of course, there are those who love winter sports and they are in their element. I am not a skier, snowboarder or snowshoer–although I’ve experienced two out of the three. For me, the challenge with winter is getting through it–overcoming the isolation which heavy snow imposes. Travel north or south is inhibited as the highway may have restrictions. Or, driving in a “white out” with poor visibility can be daunting.
A few winters back, when the first heavy snow hit, a depressed feeling settled over me. Looking out my window as the large flakes whirled abundantly, I could see that soon my world would be covered in white. While pretty on a postcard, there are the practical challenges. I need to contact the men who shovel my driveway and walkways. Be sure that I have enough fuel. Is the cupboard fully stocked if we are going to have several days of snow? Do I need to wrap the water pipes if the temperature drops too low? Living close enough to the stores, I layer clothing, don my hiking boots and trek through the snow and slush to get to the post office and grocery store if necessary.
This particular day, I was dicing onions and carrots for a pot of soup. It occurred to me that I could invite friends over to share the soup. I called about six friends. They couldn’t promise, but they’d see how bad this storm was going to be. One friend blatantly said, “Christine, no one’s going to come!” However, just the thought that someone might show up spurred me on.
The invitation was “If you dare to come out tonight, I’ve got a hearty pot of soup on the back burner…bring your favorite soup bowl!”
That night, in a heavy winter storm, four people came. The next week, there were eight of us. By the end of the winter season, soup night had become an institution which rotated among several homes averaging ten to twelve people. This meant we needed two pots of soup, bread, salad and occasionally dessert. The warm feeling of sharing and communing while the world outside was enveloped in cold and white brought new meaning to winter in the mountains.