I told him I'd do whatever he wanted to make it a memorable day.
He wanted to take the chair lift as high as we could go and then hike to the very summit of the mountain be the first tracks in the night's newly laid snow.
It sounded magically gut wrenching but it was his birthday wish so, I said I'd love to tag along.
We got off the lift and stood gazing up at that massive white peak. The snow blew off into the distance beyond the frozen cap way up above the tree line.
He grinned like a ten year old boy and I mentally made a note not to say any bad words. Even in my head. Even if they were well deserved. Even if I hit a point where I felt I might barf all over the new fallen snow ... which I most certainly knew I would at that height and incline.
We detached from our skis and following his lead, I threw my gear over my shoulder putting one heavy ski boot wedged into the snow after another. Faster than me, he moved ahead shouting encouragement over his shoulder. I kept my focus on my feet and plugged away step by well placed step.
It occurred to me at the forty five minute mark that perhaps I might be coming closer to the top by not having looked up in all that time. It certainly enhanced the illusion that I might actually be getting somewhere. Skis grew heavy on my shoulder and I straightened for a much needed stretch break.
Newel stood not too far ahead waiting at what appeared to be a marker indicating the highest safely ski-able terrain. I caught my breath. Figuratively and literally. The snow that had been blowing in the climb had slowed and a wintry sun peered through enough to illuminate the mountains rolling in the distance with a stretch of untouched powder leading through trees and cliffs down to the valley below.
The view was spectacular.
In that brief moment, I reflected on that man up ahead of me shouting encouragement. We'd been together for more than half of the lifetime that we were celebrating on that day. I thought about the view I had almost missed because my head had been down .... my focus on feet plugged away intent on the task and failing to look up and take in the journey ... on daily opportunities to move forward on freshly untouched ground.
I reminded myself once again, to keep my head up, look up and really take in the view along with every step of the way.
Telling myself ... you don't want to miss this.
And then we skied down and did it again. Only this time .... better.
Happiest of birthdays to my best friend and traveling companion through this beautiful life. I love sharing every "view" with you.