Our family arrived at our rental condo at about 8pm on a Thursday night. We were in northern Michigan for a two-day ski trip, but Wil doesn’t ski. Our condo advertised access to two pools at the ski resort. The plan was for Wil and I to bounce between the two pools on Friday (Wil loves to swim) while Matt, Katherine and Elizabeth skied. On Saturday, Matt and I would swap places.
The pool pass, a large blue wooden rectangle, was laid out for us in plain sight on the condo’s kitchen counter. Wil spied it immediately. “Go swimming, Mom!”
I called the resort to inquire how late the pools were open. I was informed both pools were closed temporarily, but there was another pool open in the resort, only our pass didn’t give us access. My disappointment welled, but I tried to keep calm for Wil. Matt got on the phone with the rental company. How could they make this right for us, he asked; how about giving us access to the open pool? Sorry, the rental company answered, nothing we can do, but hey, you have access to free nature trails.
We racked our brains for other options for Wil. With the pandemic, most activities required advanced ticket purchase. Trail biking was not an option for Wil. The dog sledding looked really cool but they were booked through mid-March. We did have tubing tickets for Friday and Saturday, which secured an hour of fun each day. What to do with the other hours?
Friday morning, Wil and I dropped Matt, Katherine and Elizabeth off at the resort to ski. I drove away with no idea where to go. I passed a building labeled “The Nordic Center,” made a quick U-turn and cut back into The Nordic Center’s parking lot.
Once inside, Wil and I met Lee, the young woman working behind the desk. I explained our pool situation to Lee; that we were seeking an alternative. Wil is active, but he does have low muscle tone so cross-country skiing may quickly zap his energy and we’d be right back where we started. Did she have any suggestions?
Lee suggested snow shoeing for our next adventure. “Wil, these snow shoes are really easy to take off if you need a break.” (Lee spoke directly to Wil about anything pertaining to him, rather than to me. Though this may seem logical, it is often not the case. I appreciated her greatly.)
The snow on the trail was packed down tight, the temps a balmy 40 degrees; near perfect conditions for Wil’s first attempt at snow shoeing. We made it further down the trail than I anticipated before Wil dropped to the ground. “Break, Mom,” he said.
Wil laid down and turned his gaze up. I laid down next him and breathed in the crisp, earthy smell of the trail. “Look, Mom,” Wil said. I followed his gaze to a tall, narrow, spindly-branched tree arched high above us; beyond it an expansive sky that answered every question you might have had about infinity. Wil turned his head toward me and smiled. I turned and smiled back.
This was a someday moment. A moment I promise myself I will stop and enjoy — someday. A moment easily shielded by dashed plans and what-could-have-beens. A moment when I recognized time must stand still to grasp the unboundedness of it. A moment that I knew was exactly what I was looking for, without knowing I was looking for it at all.