I’m not sure whether I believe in magic, but I believe in magical moments. For me they are those moments on the trail where everything is good and seems as it should be and all is right with the world.
It’s why I go back over and over, and have made a 20-year career out of guiding other people in the hope that they can experience the same thing. These moments are fleeting, sandwiched between the unending tasks of forest living, but they are powerful. I don’t usually experience them at home or in town, but that’s probably about me and what’s going on in my head.
These moments are hard to define. For me it’s the feeling that you’re doing what you should be doing where you should be doing it. Being in the moment and forgetting about the past and the future. As my friend Ben McNutt once said, “It’s about feeling, even for just a moment, what it means to be a human being.”
I had one of these moments on the Boreal Snowshoe Expedition last February. I had snowshoed out to the waterhole at dusk and filled the pails under the red-orange twilight. I felt warm and content with all my needs met, and enjoyed a quiet break from the camaraderie of the group. I recall standing on the windless frozen lake and feeling that this is a far better way to spend a day than to be rushing around and stressed about what’s coming up tomorrow. It was a moment of perfect contentment in the forest, far from the cares of town.
And even though I’m miles and months away from that moment as I write this, I wrap myself up in it like a protective blanket when the cares of the world encroach.