Friday, December 05, 2008

Close to home

First of all, I just wanted to express a heartfelt thank you to everyone who donated to LIVESTRONG today. I set up my personal page at 11:30 p.m. last night, and by 8 a.m. (while I was still snoozing in bed), I received an e-mail from the Lance Armstrong Foundation congratulating me for meeting my fundraising goal (I didn't even know I had a fundraising goal, but as it turns out my goal was set to the default number, which is $250.) Now, together we've raised $450, in less than 24 hours! I look at the names you included, the people you donated in memory of, and they have really touched my heart. I feel inspired by your outpouring of generosity, and plan to work harder for this cause in the coming months. I feel like I have a lot on my plate right now (Really. A lot. So much that I don't even think about the Iditarod race every minute of every day like I did last year.) But this is important. Really important. I'm glad to be a part of it.

The donation page didn't provide e-mail information for each contributor like I thought I would. So if you're Kevin Casey, Andrew Good, Jeanne McCabe, Lauren Dunn or Richard Bischoff, could contact me at jillhomer66@hotmail.com with your mailing address so I can send you a book? Congratulations! You were the first five to donate. (Richard, I know I should have your contact info, but I am terrible at keeping records. Do you mind shooting me it again?) Thanks to everyone. I will continue to hold a "raffle," once a week on Fridays, for a book to a random person who contributed that week (any amount.) You can donate here.

Anyway, all of this generosity was a wonderful surprise to wake up to this morning, as was this ...

(I took off my coat to set my camera on to take a self portrait, which is why I'm not wearing a coat. Although it was about 36 degrees outside, which, when marching up a mountain, feels downright tropical.)

We received nearly a foot of new snow overnight, which sadly degenerated to sleet/rain (i.e. snain) shortly after I woke up this morning. A tree had fallen on power lines and knocked out electricity to most of the city, and the power had been out for more than an hour when I stumbled out of my dark bedroom to find my bleary-eyed roommate, Shannon, sitting on the couch and staring out the window. He mumbled something about wandering all over Douglas looking for coffee and finding none. Both Shannon and I are pathetically dependent on morning caffeine, so I just sat down near him and petted the cats as we listened to the deep nothingness that is an electricity-free neighborhood buried in snow.

Eventually the electricity fired back up and Shannon turned the radio and coffee maker on, and I went outside to check the condition of the snow. The falling snain was quickly turning it into a substance more similar to wet cement than frozen water, and with more than a foot of it covering everything, I knew I didn't stand a chance of getting out for a bike ride today (I put up with a lot of slop, but even I have my limits.) It goes without saying that the conditions are too treacherous for riding my bike, they're certainly too treacherous for driving my car. It seemed I was stuck at home for the afternoon. So I did what anyone stuck at home would do ... I strapped on my snowshoes and went for a walk through the neighborhood ...

The Mount Jumbo trail is a trail I can literally walk out my front door and be moving up the mountain within three minutes. Sometimes I take full advantage of the proximity of this steep, lung-busting, heart-rate-working, beautiful forest route and use it frequently; and sometimes I neglect it for weeks at a time. But for all of the dozens of times I have walked on the Mount Jumbo trail, today I found it in the most enchanting state I have ever seen it in. The thick snow covered every branch of trees 60 feet high, and buried the mountainside in fluffy, forgiving pillows of powder. The snain turned back to light falling snow above 1,000 feet, and the air was so calm, so completely calm, that not even that tallest branches on the tallest trees swayed. As I walked, I heard only the muffled crunch of my footsteps. If I stopped, I heard nothing at all. Even though I was supposed to be working my heart rate and busting my lungs, I found myself stopping often and gazing up at the treetops, mesmerized by the white silence.

What can I say? My neighborhood is a pretty place.