I love snowstorms. Especially when they seem out of place, like three days into spring. Last Friday morning after a challenging week, I was particularly looking forward to a run in the forest where I expected to be immersed in solitude after the previous night’s storm left several cm of fresh snow. I thought being alone in nature in the sanctuary of a snowy forest was exactly what I needed. When I arrived in the parking lot I was surprised to see more than 1 or 2 cars.
The snow was powdery, the sky a grey-blue, and the trees were cloaked in softness. I began to run feeling my feet drift over the cold. I loved this forest and it was particularly beautiful under the quiet whisper of snow. A few minutes into my run, my heart was already beginning to feel lighter when I realized not only were there other people on the trail, but there were other people ENJOYING themselves on the trail. People smiling, walking their dog and not minding the snow that blew in early that morning.
After passing by several people who were immersed in the beauty and not complaining “did you hear we are going to get another dump of snow?” the tune I heard many times the days before, I felt a surge of positivity flow through my body.
I was just thinking how wonderful it was to be in the company of such kin - fellow nature lovers who appreciate all conditions when I rounded a corner and saw him. He was sporting a red tank top with a red maple leaf in the middle and black sunglasses, next to him was a golden Labrador with a bright orange ball clasped in his mouth.
“Are you trying to give spring a hint?” I shout to him while running.
“It's a beautiful day.” He shouts back.
“It certainly is.” I smile before stopping to talk with this stranger and share in his enthusiasm.
“You know that is so refreshing to hear. I was just thinking how wonderful it is to see people out enjoying themselves on this snowy day at the beginning of spring. Your positive energy is awesome. Thank you for sharing it. I’m Janelle” I introduce myself.
“I’m Stew. And this is Gracie. Nice to meet you.” He responds.
I approach Gracie, the most adorable and sweet dog and reach my hand to her.
"She is somewhat timid." Stew informs me.
I share with Stew I write a blog about these exact encounters – meeting people who simply go about their day and without even knowing it inspire and uplift another. I mention that I had not been blogging recently as I was moving through some challenging times, but I was inspired by our exchange and would definitely write about it.
“And if you are ok, can I take a photo of you and Gracie?” I ask.
“Sure. What’s your blog” he asks.
“Live Inspired.ca” I respond.
Stew shares some encouraging words before I snap a photo of him and Gracie, thank him once more and turn to the trail, sprinting off in glee. I had what felt like a permanent smile inside when I was running down a hill and could see two women and their dogs stopped at the bottom of the hill. They were setting up to take a selfie, angling the camera uphill and in my exact direction. Without hesitation, riding on this wave of energy, I blast up behind them and shout “photobomb!”
“Oh, you startled us.” they turn around and begin to laugh.
“I am not sure you made the photo though. If you hadn’t shouted you probably would have.” One said almost disappointed that I didn’t.
“Well, you have 2 big dogs I did not want to scare,” I respond in between laughter.
We share some more laughs and feeling lighthearted, I take off once more running uphill as though I was floating. When I was almost out of ear reach, I could hear them chuckling to each other, one of them saying “that was awesome.”
My heart was racing not from the adrenalin, but from pure joy. I felt a rise of energy surge through my body. And I knew this was the reason I came out to run today. Not for solitude. Not to be alone with my own thoughts. Not to ponder all that was difficult and challenging in my life. But rather the exact opposite. To do what I love, to be immersed in the beauty of nature, to connect with others and to laugh.
I finished my run feeling as though I was transported out of my reality and had entered some portal to another dimension - the happy go lucky one, where everyone was smiling and no one was complaining, where there was joy, laughter, and playfulness. Where there was appreciation and gratitude. Where instead of the perception this sucks we are getting another snowstorm, the perception was this is AMAZING and beautiful and it won’t last so I am going to take it in and enjoy it.
Like the weather that can turn any moment from a sunny sky to blizzard-like conditions, Mother nature teaches us our state of mind, our emotions, and our challenges are not permanent. And more importantly how we view our reality will change what we see. We can be sure, just as the sun comes up in the morning and the moon rises at night, spring will arrive in its own timing.
And If we are willing, we can let a bad mood pass us by and once again bask in joyful connection with people and the world around us. I have found many times when I allow difficult emotions to move through me and open myself to another way of being, I have the most amazing connections. (See Random Encounters at Square One).
I jumped into my car, full of gratitude, bliss flowing through my veins like a drug and realized, yes indeed I was transported. I only had to release what was no longer serving me (staying stuck in hurt, anxiety, and sadness) expand my mind, and be my free-spirited self for the portal to open. The portal of joy, positivity, connection, laughter and light-heartedness.
Thank you Stew and Gracie! And to the women whose photo I almost bombed. Your energy and spirit has truly uplifted mine.