Winter Restoration

By Marsha Black

By December of 2001, a quiet blanket of winter white covered Yosemite Valley. The event was so unusual that it made the local news for a week, catching the attention of Bay Area residents, including my husband and myself.
I think most of us needed relief from the personal and national disasters of 2001. We certainly did. Mentally and physically exhausted, our enthusiasm and energy flagged. Our bodies ached. Instinctively, we turned to Yosemite’s familiar retreat, hoping that the pristine beauty would refill our spiritual and physical reserves.

The morning after our arrival, we woke to the first indication of hope. Looking out to the meadow behind the Ahwahnee, we were rewarded with a vista of white-cloaked trees. As the sun rose slowly into mid-morning, we watched the limbs release their snowy mantles, creating a translucent cloud of powder. I felt my spirits rise as each bough bounced back, freed from the strain of heavy snow.

Yosemite Three Brothers
A drive over the rough valley road took us to another meadow. The sun had hidden behind dramatic clouds and the air felt noticeably colder. Following the light, I scrunched and pounded through white drifts to the middle of the field, finding new strength in the physical effort and in the anticipation that something special was just ahead.
Yosemite Half DomeWhen I turned around, I faced Half Dome in all its majesty. Nature’s own spectacular backdrop, it dwarfed a snow couple that had been built in the meadow below. I felt myself smile as the scene before me crowded out any last subconscious visions of past events. Part of the healing of nature, I reminded myself, is about perspective.

At day’s end, we made a final stop at a bridge spanning the Merced River. The setting sun angled across the valley floor and the water snaked gracefully through the bright meadow. Merced RiverWatching the river scour the rocks and streambed, I felt my own body continue its cleansing process. My shoulders became more pliant, my neck less stiff, my facial muscles less tight. The lingering headache I’d brought to the valley with me had disappeared. I reflected on John Muir’s belief in the healing power of the wilderness, and of Yosemite in particular. A remarkably insightful man, I thought.
Yosemite Bridal Veil FallsHand in hand, my husband and I walked back to the car, lost in our memories of this quietly restorative day. It would snow again that night, we were sure, and we were quite content to take what came our way.
About the Author

Marsha Black has been traveling and writing about her travels for many years. A businesswoman, grandmother and passionate photographer, her work is exhibited regularly at Reed’s Camera Shop in Walnut Creek and at Brewed Awakening in Berkeley. She has been published in travel journals and webzines such as International Travel News and American Women Road and Travel. She lives with her husband, Dale, in Pleasant Hill, California. See more of her photos at her website: www.visualtravels.com.

Copyright © 2005 By Marsha Black. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be copied or reproduced without written permission from the author.

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