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Merry Christmas to the Unknown Snowmobiler


(12/24/2013)

winter at night

From the window of the cabin, the boy sees a lone headlight carve a gentle arc along the shoreline of the frozen lake. Enough trees stand on the hillside between the cabin and the lake below to intermittently obscure the snowmobile’s beam, allowing it to telegraph a sort of visual Morse code to the boy in the window.

The sun disappeared over the lake long ago, but the night's complete blackness has not quite settled in. The boy presses his face against the cold window, straining his eyes to see the color of the snowmobile. Is it blue or yellow? Maybe red, or perhaps black?

He wonders too where this rider and machine are headed? A simple lap around the lake or some destination many miles away?

The chill of the window’s pane sends a shiver through the boy. He’s glad to be inside a warm cabin, yet he longs to be the one riding a snowmobile on this cold, calm evening.

He watches the machine stop a short distance from the shoreline, its headlight pointed at the well-packed trail leading off the lake and up a steep hillside.

The boy knows this narrow, challenging stretch of trail quite well. It will thrill him many times the next day as part of a loop he will ride on his uncle’s snowmobile, connecting the cabin with the spread of holes where the adults will spend the day catching fish.

He’s ridden snowmobiles by himself only a few times before, so the boy cannot fathom the courage and skill required to ride UP this hill… at night!

After the brief pause, the machine lurches toward the hillside trail, gaining the speed necessary to reach the top. The headlight’s beam bounces hard up and down, reflecting off of the trees that it slaloms past on its way to cresting the hill.

Whew, the rider made it!

Instead of continuing onward, the rider pauses briefly at the top.

Maybe he stopped to catch his breath after the brave ascent? Maybe he's surveying the difficult route behind, or contemplating some other unseen danger ahead?

Or perhaps he’s gazing through the trees, at the warm glow of light radiating through the window of the cabin in the distance?

He’s too far away to see the boy staring intently back at him, but maybe the rider can senses something? Some… connection. 

A moment passes. The machine moves forward and the headlight disappears into the night.

The boy stares out the window just a little longer, imagining the amazing adventures awaiting the unknown rider.

He doesn’t know it at the time, but the boy will replay this simple moment countless times in the years that follow. 

Sometimes even now, when he sees a snowmobile headlight bouncing along in the distance, he wonders to himself about the unknown rider on the unknown machine from all those years ago.

Merry Christmas to him. And to you.



Comments (10):

Nate Novak says:
12/24/2013 3:08:00 PM

Thank you so much for this great post. This is the first time I have read something like this, but have done this exact thing so many times before. Thanks for the great site.
Snowowl says:
12/24/2013 3:35:00 PM

Thank you for all of the great stories that keep Arctic fever burning inside of us Cat lovers, and Merry Christmas to everyone who visits this wonderful site.
Tom Mattila says:
12/24/2013 3:40:00 PM

Thanks for all the great articles and inside info. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Best Wishes!
Paul Nadeau says:
12/24/2013 5:34:00 PM

Merry Christmas to all Arctic Insiders ! The snow angels have blessed us in northern Maine with 2 feet of snow these past 10 days or so! The trail groomer was out yesterday ! Merry Christmas to you and your family John ! Keep up the great work!
S.K.LEPINNET says:
12/24/2013 7:11:00 PM

Merry Christmas John and your family, and to my entire Arctic Cat family. This is the season we wait all year for. Hope everyone can enjoy it in some shape or form.
Mike F says:
12/24/2013 8:58:00 PM

Merry Christmas everyone!
Mike F says:
12/24/2013 8:58:00 PM

Merry Christmas everyone!
The boy in the window says:
12/24/2013 10:32:00 PM

Man that post brought back a lot of memories....Riding on the bus staring out the window picking my lines in the ditches and hitting every road approach perfectly (still do this- except I'm staring out my truck window)....flipping through the cat brochure and running through my wish list of what sleds I would have and what accessories I would have on them (also just did this today). I love snowmobiles. John thanks for your commitment to arctic cat and providing us with these great stories. It is people like you that keep this sport strong. Merry Christmas!
kevin sebastian says:
12/25/2013 4:50:00 AM

Merry Christmas to all my fellow Arctic Cat Riders!n
Kingkat says:
12/25/2013 6:06:00 AM

Thanks for the story. Reflection is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately most of us never get those thoughts on paper. Merry Christmas everyone!

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