I must start this entry by saying that the only thing I hate about snowshoeing on days like this,is stopping. I set out about an hour ago with a bit of heaviness in the pit of my stomach. If asked why, I could probably give about four or five reasons for feeling that way today. Luckily, I am clever enough or at least know from experience that the best way to combat those feelings is to get out and have a bit of a talk to myself. I zigzagged and trudged my way through some absolutely breathtaking openings in the woods behind my house, stopping often to gaze up at massive trees firmly rooted and stretching toward a vibrant deep blue sky. The snow creates a magical setting where creations every bit as captivating as any that grace the art galleries and museums of the world have been fashioned by the thick blanket of white falling on whatever lies beneath, giving the sculpture beauty and mystery. In that beautiful place my mind went to the funeral of the 98 year old father of a dear friend and former colleague of mine. She has been a woman of great influence in my life. Her gift of music was so freely and generously given as a teacher, a choir director, and a mother that shaped and encouraged her talented daughter, musician Stephanie Mainville. I learned more yesterday about where that amazing woman originated. Her father made choices in his 98 years that took him from a harsh and crippling beginning to a triumphant and inspiring end. The gratitude and admiration for the course one man took resounded in the testimony of his grandson and the strings of his granddaughter’s violin.During the tribute to Ernest his grandson told a story of a Chinese holy man who after being given lodging and shown compassion by a peasant, gave the man a blessing before departing. His blessing was ; Grandfather die, Father die, Son die. The man upon receiving the blessing asked angrily what kind of a blessing that was. The holy man replied” Would you rather it in a different order? “I wept today when thinking upon those words. I know the sorrow of being given loss in a different order. I think too of a family today that six years ago was also given that loss out of order. We dance a dance in this life and it is seldom of our exact choosing. We must take the music that plays for us and dance the waltz as best we can. That is what Ernie did and all I can hope for is, that someday the same can be said of me.