Simplicity can teach us a great deal.
We dream of faraway lands, incredible expeditions, remote places. Sometimes it feels that if you don’t travel for a certain amount of hours and you don’t endure incredible challenges, then moments are less meaningful, less worthy to be remembered, even pointless at some eyes.
So we look at our backyard, we brand it as too easy and we don’t even go there, ever. It looks cute in its attempt to emulate the ultimate adventurous place, doesn’t it?
Then the day comes when you have a day off and you really, really, really miss the mountains. You have some sort of “ritual” to attend, but weather conditions, money and time are not so favourable. Long story short, a bunch of stuff makes it messy and elusive, yet you don’t want to renounce to it.
“We could go snowshoeing up the Terminillo. Something cheap, near and easy”. Approved.
I must admit it, snowshoeing sounded pretty funny to me. According to my ignorance, it was an activity for elderly people, or those who don’t really know what adventure is, yet they enjoy taking strolls around mountains and play outdoor enthusiast, even for just one day.
On top of that, as sad as it sounds, Terminillo seemed like a non-mountain to me. It felt like the mountain of city people. A urbanised peak: no space for free, fresh, unspoilt air. No room for wilderness. No room for magic.
It didn’t sound enough adventurous, sophisticated, or enchanting. It felt a bit like a second choice, an always-better-than-to-stay-home sort of thing.
…how wrong! I love it how nature dismantles prejudices and lies in a split second. I love the feeling of being proven wrong and being reminded how grateful and astonished I should be instead.
Everybody say ciaspole!
Daniele, Veronica, Alessandra and I left home at 8.30 AM…easy peasy! We took all our time to get to Pian de’ Valli (1620 mt), where we rented our pair of snowshoes and sticks for a few euros per person. The itinerary starts where the ski lifts are. Heading right, cross the ski slopes and reach the small signs on the other side. Follow the arrow pointing at Rifugio la Fossa (1505 mt), where the itinerary ends.
It’s a supereasy one. The track is absolutely obvious. You just have to follow the red and white CAI’s marks on trees or wooden sticks. If you want to spice it up a bit, there’s the chance to go off track now and then, cut the itinerary and make it a little harder, or just even more fun, however, it’s all very simple.
After an initial part crossing the ski runs, the hike enters the woods. The silence of the mountain is everywhere. Sometimes, a ski tourer might cross your path, but a majestic solitude dominates the scene: it’s hard to believe you’re just one and a half hours away from the chaos of Rome and the cluster of society.
In less than a couple of hours, taking all the time we needed and numerous stops for photos, we reached Rifugio la Fossa, which is closed in wintertime and lies in a beautiful valley surrounded by marvellous, solemn walls.
Snow makes everything even more magical, soft and suspended in space and time.
Make it simple.
Even just the fun that snowshoeing provided could be enough of a reason to prove all my prejudices wrong and make it a day long remembered. But there actually was so much more to this experience.
At the beginning, I couldn’t understand what made it such a great, full, nourishing, enriching day. I was so surprised, even overwhelmed of how something so simple could make me feel so full and authentic. Then it stroke me: that simplicity was the answer itself.
We are so used to complexity, abundance, peculiarity, exceptions and ornaments, we often don’t experience simple things anymore. Their taste becomes something so explosive and restorative. Like the that of your childhood’s dishes, or the smell of something that brings you back home when you’re a thousand miles away and incredibly nostalgic.
Simplicity brings you back. There’s something so natural and human and beautiful in experiencing that. Paradoxically, it feels like experiencing something new, where all you have to do is to enjoy the moment, look around, breath some clean air, laugh with a friend and thoroughly enjoy nature.
To be alive. How simple is that? How incredibly simple, yet incredibly rare.
The extreme is fascinating. Pushing the limits of our comfort zone is something striking and addictive. Sometimes we misunderstand it like the ONLY way to live an authentic life. And it’s true: sometimes you must turn up the volume to turn a background noise into an actual sound.
Nevertheless, without silence, even the most beautiful melody wouldn’t exist.
Keep it simple, I would say. Yet, I feel like we don’t have the possibility to do that. Indeed, we need to learn how to make things simple again. We must educate ourselves to that capacity again.
I couldn’t be more grateful to know that my backyard is so breathtaking and full of simplicity awaiting for me, to be alive and experiment that paradox of relaxation, discovery and pure being. I couldn’t be more grateful to have the chance to be taught to make it simple again by the greatest of all masters: nature.