Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, “Beauty will save the world.” We could try to dissect exactly what Dostoevsky, a deeply pious man, meant with such a maxim, but even on the very surface, it bears truth. The past few months have been filled with so much antipathy, violence, and fear, threatening to breed despair. But an encounter with beauty in the midst of all this can offer hope, peace, and a reminder of the fact that goodness exists.
The first snowfall of winter, especially in the mountains, offers such beauty. Beauty that makes you temporarily forget about the worst of the world, beauty that moves you away from the danger of apathy or despair. By March, I’m sure I will be ready for it all to melt, but in fall, snow is magical.
We had heard of snow falling at higher elevations in September, but we honestly did not anticipate to find so much already at Mount Rainier this weekend. At as low as 5400 feet, snow covered the ground in a layer of fresh, pure powder. It wasn’t very cold – about 35 degrees at noon – but the snow made us feel like we had stepped out of reality and traveled through time to winter.
We hiked a little bit, starting in the National Forest just outside Mount Rainier State Parks (dogs are not allowed on trails in the park). Ollie and Charlie both frolicked, their eyes sparkling with glee as they ate snow.
We only hiked for a couple miles, as we had forgotten our microspikes at home and my hiking boots do not provide good traction on compacted snow (my trail shoes, alas, would have been the better option). But what we were able to hike was so serene and beautiful that it was worth the effort.
I leave you with the expression on Ollie’s face when the snow first appeared as we drove into the park:
What’s something beautiful you experienced recently?
Any recommendations for a good pair of winter hiking boots?