Happy New Year from our family here in the mountains of northern New Hampshire. I captured this photo of my husband and son on Christmas morning at our parents’ home. There is so much about it that makes me smile– the sun streaming in between their bodies; his little head leaning into Geoff as if they are sharing some great secret; the fact that they are surveying our mountains, probably sad about not skiing on Christmas Day when Mother Nature dropped a few inches of snow to turn the world white again. They are looking ahead, together, and I have no idea what they are even talking about; nor does it even matter. Time is suspended within the sunshine that streams between them, catching bits of Christmas magic in the dust. Both early risers, they are eager about the day ahead and what it holds beyond Grandma’s baked French toast and bacon. There is hope for the day, the mountains, and the space between them.
I might have chosen to write about the other night when we walked downtown with my brother and sister in law for an adult beverage and took our lives into our own hands given the state of the sidewalks. We walked in the road instead of on the sidewalks given the inches of slush and snow and ice. I’m not blaming anyone for the lack of plowing as the storm had just ended. However, in walking in the road down our main street, cars didn’t seem to slow their roll at the sight of our foursome just trying to get there safely on our four wheels. They carried on at dangerous speeds splashing slush in their wake.
I might have chosen to write about the conversation I had on the phone with the box office of a fairly major theater when trying to purchase “Sound of Music” tickets for our family Christmas experience and how none of the less expensive tickets were wheelchair accessible. Not to worry, I’ll be following up in the New Year on that one. But, I bought the tickets anyway because, well, it’s Christmas, and that was the gift I wanted to give, just as we had our adult beverages in a place that lacked a ramp; instead we faced rounded cement stairs, covered in ice.
Instead, though, of belaboring these more negative observations, I choose to write about hope, the kind of hope we must have as we look to the year ahead.
Emily Dickinson once said, “Hope is the thing with feathers/that perches in the soul…”
The hope perching in my soul these days comes in the form of community; the kind of place where people who turn 100 years old are escorted through town to church by the local police department, given flowers along with a Miss America style sash for being 100 and fabulous; the kind of place where the local fire department uses their ladder to decorate a local family’s home with Christmas lights flashy enough to make Clark Griswold proud; the kind of place where Santa comes in the form of a local ski shop who puts wrapped helmets and goggles on someone’s deck for their children; the kind of place where Santa cuts pink Leki ski poles (like the kind Olympian Mikaela Shiffrin uses) down to size as it’s the only item on her Christmas list; the kind of place where people rallied around our family’s service dog fundraiser to raise the $8000 to bring us, Emerson, our pup we can’t imagine living without; the kind of place which draws a young, new energetic athlete to learn how to mono ski; the kind of place where a very sick mom can watch her kiddos rip down the mountain from an EZ chair recliner in the mountain bar placed by the window; the kind of place where the snow always falls again after a hard rain and the sun shines even in the face of illness or tragedy. Hope comes in the form of teenagers on basketball courts and ski racers in GS suits and the lunch ladies and snowmakers and bank tellers and plow guys and ski tuners and 93-year-old Holocaust survivors.
Here is to all the hope we can muster in 2019. May it take many forms and fill many souls.
Heather Krill is a writer- wife- teacher-mom who lives in the White Mountains of NH with her husband, Geoff, a paraplegic and professional skier, and their two children, Carver and Greta who are 8 and 7.Please check out her novel “True North”, website www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.