2007 started quietly today – that sort of hushed stillness that falls over a land of people who made merry into the wee hours of the morning the night before. I peeked out the blinds to discover our valley draped in a thick, gray, misty accumulation of fog, clouds and inversion.

However, this dreary blanket was not going to gloom me up. Two of my dearest friends were getting married. I have looked forward to this day since Laiya shyly whispered to me that they had decided to get married. These two people are some of the most overwhelmingly beautiful beings I have ever come across. The knowing of them has altered the course of my life, forever. I am a better woman because of the fact that I have had the privilege of combining my life circle with theirs.

Because it was going to be a very intimate, private affair – maybe only family members – I was humbled and astonished when my invitation came to join them in the ceremony. I was breathless with the honor of receiving that request to join. Even the thought of snowshoeing into the secluded meadow wherein the ceremony was to be held was not daunting enough to keep me away. Charging bulls couldn’t have kept me away.

I have had visions of what the experience was going to be like. Every time I would think about their approaching celebration, I would see pristine expanses of white sparkling like diamonds cast to the wind. I would see aspen groves and leafless branches and skies so clear and blue that my eyes would water. I would get the sense that this was something I had done with them before, that I had come bearing royal riches and that it was one of the most sacred experiences I had ever had. It felt ancient, ceremonial, hallowed. When I shared those thoughts and feelings with Laiya, her eyes lit up. She knew exactly what I meant.

So, when I looked out the window this morning, one would have thought I would have been crestfallen because of the gray image outside that glass pane. I shrugged it off, keeping in mind that things are never the same in the mountains, and went about getting ready for the event.

When I rounded the corner up Provo Canyon on the way to Sundance, where the wedding was to take place, and the clouds suddenly parted as though Moses was nearby, my breath caught in my throat and tears stung my eyes. I reached for my sunglasses because the white-hot rays bouncing of the untouched expanses of glimmering whiteness almost blinded me. There was not a cloud in the sky – a flawless span of aquamarine as far as I could see. I was breathless.

Never having been snowshoeing, I was not really prepared for the task. I heard several people say it was more than they had expected, so I didn’t feel too bad. However, I did get a firm realization that 2007 is the year for getting fit. For real, this year. And an hour after we left the yurt at home base, I was grateful to look down over the unmarred blanket of snow where we would all gather in honor of the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Barry Moniak.

I looked down at the beautiful sight –she in an antique, beaded cloak and gown that glimmered as brilliantly as the snow; he in black and burgundy; both with fur and wool and all the accoutrements one would see on Russian royalty. Their ceremony was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life.

I left the gathering before the others, wanting to find my own solitude in the unspoiled wilderness and magnificent natural cathedral. I walked along the snowshoe track listening to the crunch-crunch-crunch of my snowshoes and looking around me in awe.

As I neared home base, I came to a crossroads. There were several different paths converging into the spot where I stood. All but one of them looked well used, but haphazardly placed as though errant children had ran amuck or impatient hikers had made shortcuts. The one that was clearly more used seemed, at my vantage point, to lead me back from whence I had come.

I stood stock still in the silence, feeling the breeze caressing my cheeks with chilly kisses and teasing the ends of my hair. I could feel every muscle in my lower body and legs vibrantly throbbing and my heart pulsing regularly to keep up with the demands I was placing on my body. I looked about me uncertain but unafraid. I was surrounded by bare trees and an uninterrupted spread of sparkling white upon the ground.

Then I spied the ever-present markers upon some of the tree trunks lining the oft-used path that I had thought would take me the wrong way. I had noticed them on my way back because I was without the group’s trail guide. I had found comfort in those blue, orange or yellow plastic bands tied inelegantly about seemingly random tree trunks lining the snowshoe path. And, there they were, like my very own lighthouse beacon to guide me home. They were there to lead me and keep me safe.

It was a profoundly moving moment and gratitude swept through me with an astounding rush of tears and wonder. That gratitude filled my every step as tears streamed down my cheeks and I trudged alone through the wilderness, relishing my private emotional moment, my freedom and my aliveness.

Tonight, as I sit at my computer with the light of an almost-full moon touching my shoulders, I am still greatly stirred by today’s events. I feel so blessed to be alive in this beautiful land, on this amazing day and to be able to attend such a life-affirming event. I am so grateful that our earth was created for our enjoyment, not just our use. And I am grateful that my life – my creation – has manifested with such glorious magnificence.

2007 is going to be a remarkable and miraculous year!

©Angie K. Millgate 1/1/2007!!!

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