I never knew that white could come in so many colors.
It’s one of the many things I’m learning in Lapland surrounded by snow.
I’ve observed that late in the morning
fluffy white mounds turn lavender under orange sunrises.
That sheets of white ice absorb a royal blue overlay
just before the darkness of night.
That intermittent bouts of sunshine or the warm glow of street lamps
allow the flecks of each snowflake to sparkle.
I’m learning that I can transform my color too.
That beyond my ideas of black and white
lies a spectrum of shades
expanding as I surrender myself to the whiteness of winter.
Like the nickname that’s followed me since childhood
I am a Chameleon among these fields of white.
Ever adapting, despite how foreign I may appear.
Listening to the cues of nature, I’m adjusting the way that I exist in this world.
I’m learning to feel beautiful despite wearing sixteen layers of clothes.
I’m learning to broaden my tolerance for temperature
as I sweat in a sauna and swim in an ice lake.
I’m learning to open my allowance for enjoyment
as I fall in love with snow shoeing, dog sledding, and alpine skiing.
I’m learning to reassess my ideas of what it means to be healthy
as I sleep into the late morning, use reindeer milk skin cream, and eat enormous plates of wild meat.
I’m learning what it means to respect nature
as I hike through blizzards in the middle of the night, catch fish from an ice hole, and grill animal flesh over an open fire.
In the presence of fishermen and hunters and reindeer herders
I’m reconsidering my ideas about what it means to live in harmony with the natural world.
By experiencing and allowing a different way of living, a different way of traveling
I’m opening to the different possibilities of being.
I’m reminded that there is not one way to live.
There is not one way to love.
There is not one way to honor and respect this Earth.
And to my own amazement and gratitude
these differences don’t leave me asking “who am I”.
Instead they remind me that… I am.
Because the more that I accept the differences in others, the more I accept myself
understanding that I can only see a color if it first exists within my own mind.
Fifty shades of white.
Showing me a whole new spectrum
of my capacity
for love and light.