A sharp inhale brings in all the cold at once. My mouth welcomes the chill while my lungs protest with piercing twinges of pain. It forces me to slow down my pace, which then forces me to take in my surroundings. I must say, this is not a bad thing.

Every way I look, all I can see is bright snow through the black. At this time of night, it appears that every nearby mountain is wearing a snow coat. Every alp is draped in this untouchable white glitter that wants to say personally hi to you in the moonlight before it is gone by sunrise. I am so glad I get to witness this alone. The silence of the snowflakes falling onto these piles of earth continually tell me to keep moving. The far-off howl of an unidentified mammal reinforces this notion. With one hand on my breast, I quicken my descent on this perfection of risen earth. It’s not too far now until I get to what I consider my peace, the hot spring. MORE