Love, Wives and Avalanches…

January 4th-11th, 2010

Just watched ‘The Fine Line’ (avalanche safety DVD by Rocky Mountain Sherpas) and thought to myself, ‘relationships are like avalanches’.  (It’s OK to laugh…this isn’t going to get too heavy.)  You know they can be dangerous, you know the risk, you know there is commitment, but you also know there is no way to ‘really’ know  until you are in one.  There is a world of study and knowledge in risk assessment but until you slide past the point of no return, until your ski tips fall into the hands of gravity and god, or you whisper those three magic words in her ear, there is really no way to know for sure.

Billy Bragg said, “(love) is like a ride at a fun fair; it’s scary and you want to get off but as soon as you’re off you want to get straight back on again…”  Oh love is strange.  In the mountains, sliding on slippery slopes, or rolling out of bed looking for a smile on an early morning we keep coming back for more.

Love, wives, snow; they are all the same.  My lovely wife and kids are fast asleep and here in my beanie and fleecy jacket I love them all.  That is all I really need to know.  Maybe you think after 8 years of marriage, “that is easy for you to say…”, but as the years attempt to teach us something, by design, just like sliding on the snow, in the end the weather sets the course.  We listen to weather men (weather people?), search snow reports and Environment Canada forecasts, avi forecasts, I even found a computer generated satellite image of forecast BC precipitation (rain) patterns last night…we do all we can and then the bottom line is in the morning we open the door and work with what mom nature deals us.

Imagine for a moment if more people saw relationships as the inevitably unpredictable events that fall from clouds…we don’t wake up every morning expecting the sun to shine but find a half-eaten banana on the counter or roll in the door a little late after a long day, or forget an anniversary (never have myself, but you get the idea) and, well, you know what comes next.  Temperature, sunshine, wind direction, humidity, snow, rain…even the historical combination of elements are dated in a given season…they all make  that slippery slope beneath our feet what it is today and no matter how smart we think we are we ‘know’ life has taught us that nature (and wives) will inevitably remind us who is in charge…not us. 

I say wives, in all fairness, not because I have one (please feel free to insert ‘partner’, husband, dog, or whatever other BFF, or bro-mance you can relate to best) but because choosing words is near religion to me and I know in true and certain reverence that the gentle muses’ white breath that kisses us with the gift of weightless imaginary wings in back country escapes have sometimes cost loved ones the ultimate price…and they deserve to be named.

Love, wives, avalanches…to me the level commitment to sacred things is paramount in life.  All three are on some level the same and  gifts to each other.  Sliding down snowy lines in the backcountry I take my wife and my 5-year-old son and now our baby girl who just celebrated her first Christmas with me in every step and in every moment stolen each from the next they all become more precious.  The moment takes me back through time, back and forward and back home to here and now, today and I hear the voice of Norman Maclean in ‘the Montana of our youth’ just south of the Canadian Rockies I called home then.  Listen closely…under the rocks, under the snow…

Meanwhile, I hear the January rain outside our window.  Yes, ‘January rain’.  A parks service avalanche forecaster in ‘The Fine Line’ said it bluntly, ‘if the weather is unpredictable, the snow pack is unpredictable’.  Case and point; after the record snowfall ever recorded in a single month in Whistler in November, two weeks of -20c in the alpine, and a cool snow-filled sunny Christmas, it’s raining in January.  That said, I skied powder with my son in November, took our little girl for her first sleigh-ride and sled ride with mama in December, and spent 3 beautiful rainy January days with my Wife, a truck load of bags and the monkeys (kids) discovering a new beachfront hotel in Parksville between visiting family, cruising the beach with my camera and searching for surf shops on Vancouver Island.  Love, wives, snow…like I said.  I love them all.

Getting there: Still raining?  Hop on the ferry and check these out…



  1. Sorry I have been missing all your posts! Read the one about loss day i promise to catch up and keep up to date. Your a great guy inside and out!

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