On mental health and snowstorms

It was a grey day. Not weather wise. On the contrary, outside it was a complete whiteout as if the weather gods finally remembered it was winter and dropped the world into a giant snow globe. No, the greyness was inside – heavy, viscous, murky fluid filling every little corner, every nook.

view from Rattlesnake point conservation area in the winter

Days like that don’t follow any patterns. Sometimes, they creep in slowly; drip by drip, the greyness seeps through my skin until there is no room left for anything else. More often, however, they arrive suddenly – mid-sentence, mid-word, as if someone punched me in my core and all the light left with a whiz like air escaping a balloon.

snowy scene at Rattlesnake point conservation area

brown leaves against snowy forest

It should have been a happy day. There was snow outside. I love snow. I’ve been waiting for snow and now that it was here I kept digging for excitement but it seemed to be buried under layers of greyness.

plant against snow

leaves against a snowy forest at Rattlesnake point

My son reminded me that it was Saturday and we hadn’t been on a microadventure for a while. Getting dressed and deciding where to go seemed like a lot of work. All I wanted to do was to cocoon myself into layers of some fluffy fabric and sadness and spend the day on the couch staring at the ceiling or scrolling aimlessly through Netflix.

dry plant against snow

“So are we going anywhere?” he asked again. And again. Teenagers can be persistent like that. I finally peeled myself off the couch and went looking for base layers.

winter at Rattlesnake point

Looking for a new place to go, however, required more effort so we just settled on Rattlesnake Point, even though we’ve been there more than once. At least, it was fairly close so if the roads got too bad we wouldn’t spend hours trying to get home.

view from Rattlesnake Point

birch in the winter

rattlesnake point conservation area in the winter

I like Rattlesnake Point. Contrary to its name, there are no rattlesnakes although apparently there used to be. It offers a perfect combination of intimate forest paths and expansive views of the valley down below. There are a few short trails in the park but there is also a longer one that connects Rattlesnake Point with Crawford Lake – for those days when we crave a bit of a challenge. What appeals to me most is the park’s location. It sits on the Milton Outlier, separated from the rest of the Niagara Escarpment by Nassagaweya Canyon. I often wonder if it feels lonely or whether it cherishes its unique position.

view from rattlesnake point conservation area in the winter

rattlesnake point in the winter

hiking at Rattlesnake point in the winter

By the time we arrived in the park, the world was wrapped in a thick cover of snow, hiding its own greyness under fluffy layers. We walked through the whiteness, punctuated by tree trunks with an occasional colourful burst of trail markers or the copper of ironwood leaves. The forest on the other side of Nassagaweya Canyon was nothing but a faint outline.

hiking at Rattlesnake Point

forest at rattlesnake forest in the winter

trail markers at rattlesnake point

It felt good making a path through this nothingness. Feeling for rocks and roots underneath required stepping outside my inner greyness and connecting with the ground. Snow kept prickling my face, getting under my collar. I could feel it melt and run down my back in tiny rivulets taking bits of greyness with it.

view from rattlesnake point in the winter

I know grey days will be back but right at that moment the world was lending me its snowy covers to wrap myself into and melt the greyness away.

view from rattlesnake point conservation area in the winter

One thought on “On mental health and snowstorms

  1. Pingback: Chasing winter: Our weekend at Windy Lake Provincial Park | Gone Camping

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