Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter's Tales

My Honors English class is writing short memoirs this week. They're supposed to pick an aspect of their life and create a reflective piece of three to four pages. I've been thinking about what I'd write if I were to do the assignment. There are so many things, but winter has been on my mind, so I think I would write about one of my favorite winters.

It was the winter of 1992-93. I was living in Brunswick, ME and dating a guy working in Rangeley, ME. Most Fridays, I'd drive up to Rangeley, often with a friend, and spend much of the weekend snowmobiling, day and night. If you didn't know, Rangeley is considered the "snowmobiling capital of the northeast" and after that winter, I know why. The town itself is located on the shores of Rangeley Lake, but there are several other lakes in the area, as well as a number of mountains. There are hundreds of snowmobile trails that crisscross both lakes and mountains, making it possible to endlessly explore the wilderness of this beautiful region. The guy, his brother, the guy I'd go north with, and I spent hours and hours doing just that. Sometimes we'd see nothing else but trees and snow. And deer. And moose. Often I'd be cold to the bone, but couldn't bring myself to stay behind.

I loved when we'd go more slowly so I could take in the beauty sur- rounding me. One night, we found our way to the top of Bald Mountain, so called because the top literally has a bald spot, a clearing surrounded by evergreens. Getting to the top, we shut off the snowmobiles and just looked up. Except for the light glow from the snow, it was pitch black all around us, curtained by the dark evergreens. Above, the sky was like velvet studded with millions of sparkling diamonds. It took my breath away. We didn't speak, just looked. Retreated into our thoughts. It was an unforgettable feeling to be surrounded by so much dark and natural quiet. Just beautiful!

Other winter memories of Rangeley include the time we went up for a long weekend and couldn't find the cabin (my sister's in-laws') on Mooselookmeguntic. There had been so much snow and the snow plow had piled up so much more snow along the road that infrequently used driveways were hidden from view. When we finally found it, we had quite the time to get down to the cabin. But what a lovely time we had once we got inside and a fire going!

Another time I was there with several members of my drama group. We would go outside every night and walk as far out on the ice as we could (sometimes for miles, literally). My favorite thing to do was lie down on the ice, look up, and try to find as many constellations as I could. The dark sky, the lack of electric lights made for an amazing experience.

Photos: My niece, nephew, and their cousin skiing at Rangeley's Saddleback Mountain (a quieter way to explore the winter wonderland); Mooselook from Hight of Land--one of the most beautiful views I know of... [Photos borrowed from the cousin's FB album]

7 comments:

mon@rch said...

You ever get students asking "What would you write"? Thanks for share this with us . . . I love my winter XC skiing and down hill snowboarding adventures!

Beth said...

What a beautiful story about a place close to home for me. I love that area, too, although I don't care for the noise and smell of the snowmobiles but you can't beat the Rangely Lakes region for views summer, fall or winter.

Rondi said...

Yes, the noise is the one thing I don't like about snowmobiling. Well, I don't like to go so fast either, but I do like that I can get places that I wouldn't otherwise be able to see. That's why stopping on top of Bald Mountain was so special. I'd never have been there otherwise, and it was so incredible to have been there...

Rondi said...

Monarch--I try to do my assignments as often as possible. When they write in class, I try to write with them. It's a good for me to see if what I assign is actually doable =)

Sunny said...

That's a great story and great memories. What a plucky thing you are bearing the cold and embracing the ice!

inlandempiregirl said...

This is a lovely memoir piece and the last picture is sure a keeper. I have never even be on a snowmobile in my life. My students about faint when I share that.

La Tea Dah said...

I could totally relate to this post --- I will share it with my DH as well --- he is an avid snowmobiler.

Great post --- beautiful pictures!

LaTeaDah