February 19, 2014

The Land of the Ice and Snow

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Screen Shot 2014 02 19 at 10.10.07 AMAs snow piles up along our streets and the temperatures hover in the teens, it begins to look like tiny pieces of glass are twinkling on the white drifts lighting our path along the sidewalk. It sounds pretty, I know, but I’ve passed the point this winter where I appreciate its aesthetic allure.

In this relentless cycle of snowstorms, I’ve moved on to what might light up my heart and soul or just be plain fun while this bone-chilling drama plays out. And I’m happy to say in a few cases I’ve been transported from the glacier feel outside the door to toastier places beyond.

A few weeks ago it was the music and sheer electricity of Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, an experience that allowed me to reach back and reminisce about my high school days, sing along with loved ones and thousands of strangers simultaneously and revel in the headiness of the beat and mesmerizing visual stimulation.

And where that rock ’n roll escape allowed me to touch base with the old, a wine tasting featuring the wines of Tuscany at a restaurant just two blocks from my front door made for a cozy introduction to some new.

More than a dozen years ago I took a wine course in New York for the sole purpose of learning what I like and then how to describe it when selecting a wine on a restaurant list or in a store. I’m no connoisseur. I don’t have a sophisticated wine palate. I had just flown by the seat of my pants too many times and left near-full glasses idle on the table. What a waste. It had to change.

That class taught me that I gravitate to white wine and it narrowed down my specific tastes by grape. This time I went into the tasting with a desire to open up to new experiences on my palate. What could I add to my repertoire? Maybe I could stop skipping the ‘red’ section on every list and find one that made me sing.

Move forward and grow. Let it roll around in my mouth, try it with some cheese, have fun describing how it hits the roof of my mouth, listen to an expert describe the history and region of each. In between, laugh with friends and enjoy how those laughs escalate with each glass.

Over the hours, learn that I like a Baby Brunello better than its “parent.” Realize that I appreciate a nice Barolo. Ultimately reinforce that my favorite of all has bubbles.

This being transported thing, there’s definitely something to it. Not just when the snow is hemming us in but anything at all – a job we hate, a harping loved one, a crushing bore of a routine, clutter in our home. Seeking out experiences that uplift beyond the typical, separate us from our ‘devices’ for a few hours and connect us with others … well, sometimes I need a reminder how crucial that is to living. Really living.

Then, when I step back out into icy reality, I am insulated by an aura of warmth and joy. And those twinkling glints of light off the snow have a magical quality. At least for a while.

I live riveted to the next time I’m transported.

Photo by: Krysten Sullivan 

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