I promised Puneet I would take him on one of those slippery and sliding treks down a trail. He took me up on it and so off we went down snow and ice. The night was lit with the snow, for Puneet whose rather fresh out of India, this was a remarkable experience. For him, it was a silvery silence like he’d never known before.
Being a bachelor, Puneet could manage the time with me which were our own moments for quiet. We agreed to hearing only our mantras as we clutched on to our meditation beads. We saw no soul down this ravine and apart from each other, heard no soul other than two raccoons in a tree brawl. The jet black creek contrasted the white around, it was stunning.
The trail seemed to be ours, and yet it wasn’t because someone had laid it out for us and for others. Guess who? We just happened to be the happy users. At slopes we struggled to get up and down, tree trunks were our saving grace, they were our anchors for an unsteady footing.
I recall this one slope that I tackled in ’95, the year before I took my first trek across Canada. I had taken prudent strides and tried to grab any semblance of bush. Once I reached near the summit of the slippery slope, a skunk stood there with his tail rising. He readied to spray his harsh juices. I had decided at that point to let go and to be detached from my prowess at the hard labour done. I slid right back from where I came from at the base, going backwards, reluctantly of course. I then waited for the furry guy to move on before I made another attempt at ascending. I thought it was a wise move. I just had a good laugh thinking about it. Perhaps in a future walk, I’ll explain the reason for my sudden and subtle outburst. We had committed to silence and to chanting our japa mantras on this ice and snow journey. All was good.