By Gail Lynne Goodwin.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved surprises. Many times I start my day by asking the Universe to surprise and delight me that day… and to make it so outrageous, that I’ll know that my request was answered. It always works for me but rarely in the way that I think it will.
Knowing that I was going to hike through the snow in Glacier National Park today, I put in my request this morning, for something that would make me smile. I had expectations of a beautiful rainbow amidst the snow, of seeing a bear who had just awakened from hibernation, or perhaps the dance of two bald eagles. I was looking for nature at her finest, with a spectacular display of natural splendor.
Koda, my 5-year old Samoyed pup, and I hiked on the west side of Lake MacDonald, only to sink into the snow so deep that I couldn’t walk. Then we drove to the northeast point of the lake on the Going To the Sun Road, but the road was closed due to too much snow.
I love photographing the beauty of nature and was somewhat disappointed with the dreary day, the fog and snow, and the fact that I couldn’t see more than about 50’, due to the weather. My majestic mountains were completely hidden. I was also disappointed that my surprise hadn’t shown up yet. God listens on dreary days too, right?
Thinking of one last vista spot that always takes my breath away, we drove to the Apgar dock, usually home to the best sweeping lake views in all of Glacier. There’s a specific dock there where Koda and I have taken some incredible photographs throughout the various seasons of the year. I was hoping for a sneak peak at the mountains, with the sun trying to break through.
As I parked the car and walked to the dock I burst out laughing. The Universe was delivering on my request for not only a smile, but for a big laugh as well. As I trudged through the deep snow in my down coat, hat, gloves and boots, with the snow blowing everywhere, I saw two women standing in front of me, at the edge of the dock.
Not a rainbow, not a bear, not even a moose… just two women… in strapless, floor-length ball gowns standing on the dock in the snow. Seriously. I couldn’t stop laughing! Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this is what I’d see in Glacier National Park in the middle of a spring snowstorm!
As it turns out, two 20 year-old girls had decided earlier this week to do something special together to honor their friendship. They decided to do a photo shoot in Glacier, in evening gowns. They hadn’t anticipated the snow, but showed up anyway, laughing and having a crazy time with the experience, even though they were freezing.
It was fun to stand back and watch other hikers come to the spot, turn the corner, see the dock and do a double take with what was standing in front of them. I wondered if these other people had also asked for inspiration this morning, and if this moment was as special for them as it was for me. It was hard not to get caught up in the beauty of the moment, with everyone laughing together as the two women shivered as they danced in their ball gowns in the snow.
I didn’t get to see my bear, my rainbow or my moose… but I did get a smile and much more than I asked for. I left the park shortly thereafter and smiled the whole drive home, feeling loved and connected… to the beauty of the park, the people I met, the two crazy snow-dancing women, and most of all, to that great force who answered a simple request in such an outrageously fun way.
I was inspired (and I hope you are too).