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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Magical Moments And Night Skiing Adventures

For Christmas this year we decided to break from tradition and do something different. Our family along with 2 other families went skiing the week of Christmas. I've always wanted a white Christmas and figured that going someplace like Colorado was my best bet at getting one. This was my 4th time to go skiing and actually I didn't do too bad. I came back with all my body parts in place which is always a plus. As I've said before my friends accuse me of looking like a "crotchety old woman" when I ski. I have also been accused of being the only person that skies in such a way that it actually looks like I'm skiing uphill. Unfortunately I cannot deny either of these accusations but for some reason every time I go skiing I believe that I will have greatly improved over the last time. This year I was determined to ski at least two days. I just had this feeling that the skiing gene located somewhere deep inside of me was going to show itself and I would amaze not just myself but everyone else.... I was wrong! In all honesty the first day went really well. I wasn't nervous, I didn't fall a lot but by the end of the afternoon I was pretty exhausted and decided to head to the house. Several of us were planning on skiing that night but by 3:00 I had decided that didn't sound like as much fun as I thought it did. I arrived at the house and literally stumbled into the jacuzzi like a drunken sailor. I'm not sure what it is about skiing but it absolutely wears me out!! After my jacuzzi, some fabulous dinner and a good nap I didn't feel half bad. In fact I felt revived enough to take a stab at that night skiing. I imagined myself up there on the mountain skiing by moonlight and just admiring the stars. I didn't think much about it at the time but the gondola ride up the mountain took a lot longer than I expected. But I had been assured that the trail down was all green and I wouldn't have any difficulty making it to the bottom. The first 10-15 minutes were just as magical as I had imagined. The slopes weren't crowded, my kids were doing fine and I was enjoying myself.... That was until I hit a nice packed icy patch. My style of skiing is what they call snow plowing. The problem with snow plowing is it doesn't work if you have nothing to "plow" into. When I hit ice and am unable to plow my way through I have a tendency to, ummm, pick up speed and lose control. So although I may have been willing to break our Christmas tradition, I didn't see the need, nor have the skill to break my skiing traditions. Lucky for me when I fell ever so gracefully, I fell on my rump; once on my rump I did something I've never done before while skiing.... continue to pick up speed and wasn't able to stop. My Mom had lovingly told me right before I left for our trip to be careful because she had a premonition that something bad would happen. Not only did she have this premonition but she said Daddy also had it. Now that's scary, cause in my world Daddy's don't usually get premonitions. That's a gift primarily held for Mothers. So, I'm sliding down this moonlit mountain gaining speed as I head for two teenagers who had made the mistake of falling in my path. The words of my Mother were echoing through my mind much like the Arctic breeze was gently wisping through my hair. I braced for impact as I headed for the two kids (who in my opinion had no business night skiing), but nothing happened. By some miracle I missed the teenagers and continued to slide losing poles and various equipment on my way down. As I slid I kept telling myself that I would not let my Mom's premonition come true! I'm not sure exactly what stopped me but eventually (which seemed to take several minutes) I came to a grinding halt. A quick check of body parts found everything to be in working order. The big motivator in not falling down for me is the absolute enormous amount of energy that it takes me to get back on my feet. I still haven't gotten the knack of gathering myself together and returning to a standing position without it looking like a one person three ring circus. Finally, I was able to return to my crotchety old woman stance and resume skiing, but this time with much more caution. As I continued to ski the more caution I used. The fall kept replaying over and over in my mind along with my Mother's words. To make it worse my shins and other parts of my body were screaming with pain and I began to huff and puff like the big bad wolf in the story Three Little Pigs. A friend of mine just happen to ski up beside me as I took another tumble. As he attempted to help me up, my arm that held the only remaining pole I had left came around and socked him in the mouth with a bang. I was just happy to be in one piece once again and didn't seem to notice him standing there holding his mouth. As I adjusted my stuff and prepared to move on he said something like "Oh my gosh! That really hurt". I looked at him with what must have been a blank look and asked him what hurt because... duh, I was fine. He explained to me that I had slammed him in the mouth with my pole, to which I kind of shrugged and muttered "I'm sorry". It wasn't that I didn't care, it's just that I didn't really think I had hit him that hard until he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said "I think you chipped my tooth". Now I'll admit that I did feel bad about practically knocking his teeth out, but I was exhausted and sore and just wanted to finish the magical moonlit ski experience and get back to that dang jacuzzi. I was feeling some fussiness rise up inside me and I was ready to go to the house. He hung around with me until I was ready to continue then he skied with me to the next landing where our friends were waiting for us. In full huff puff mode I asked how much further to the bottom of the mountain. I mean my gosh we had been up there for what seemed like hours already and the end had to be near... Wrong. This is the point where everything went south. He looked at me stone cold (puffy lip and all) and said something to the effect of "Are you kidding? We aren't even nearly to the half way point". Immediately the whole "some fussiness" was replaced by sheer panic. Upon seeing my face the others finally turned around and headed to the bottom. I shot back at him "You have got to be kidding me", because he has a tendency to enjoy pushing certain peoples buttons just to see their very expressive reactions. "No Jac, I'm serious. We're not even to the half way point yet". It's at this point where the true core of me is revealed; I don't usually even pretend to be remotely athletic, competitive or even tough. If people want to think of me as a big sissy wuss then I am totally fine with that, because for the most part that pretty much hits the nail on the head, cause I would much rather shop for shoes than to sweat in any way shape or form. But when it comes to skiing I keep thinking I'll be able to conquer this thing. So I'm standing there on the magical moonlit mountain top thinking to myself... "You're going to die", "Everybody will be laughing at you" and "Frankly, my dear I don't give a darn". I tell him between huffs and puffs to go on without me I would just take my skies off and walk down. He doesn't know this but I saw a glimmer of laughter in his eyes until he realized that I was completely serious. He stood there weighing his options and finally realized that I wasn't faking the whole "I can't possibly ski another inch" drama. This is where he changes from the big brother that loves to torment his baby sister mask to that of a caring concerned friend who seriously wanted to help me mask. Trust me that change meant more to me than he will ever know. While I stood there in "Crotchety old woman" mode, hyperventilating loud enough to cause an avalanche he asked if I would be able to put my skies between his and let him snow plow us down together. The first thing I wanted to know is if he knew how to do that and if it would work. He knew it would work but had to admit he had never done it before, but hey we didn't have a lot of options so I agreed. He let me rest for a minute then he instructed me where to put my skies and asked if I was ready to which I huffed out a yea. To my amazement he began to ski off leaving me behind. I just kinda looked after him like.... "What the heck?". He turned around and kind of tilted his head and said.... (this cracks me up) "Umm Jac, you're going to have to hold on to my waist in order for this to work". Houston, we have a problem!!! Okay, granted we have been friends for a long time, 18 years to be exact. Our kids have grown up together and his wife is one of my very best friends. We have spent many holidays together, so we are what some would consider really good friends. But just to get this straight, he is male, I am female, and all of our kids were there. Even in all the "I can't ski another inch" drama I wasn't sure if this would be considered appropriate. My question back to him was "What will people think?" He's a pretty calm quiet guy, but I had the slight feeling that I was pushing him to his limit. After all he was capable of night skiing down a magical mountain and enjoying the views and had been looking forward to the whole experience all by himself, so my crisis along with the whole moral dilemma of me not wanting to touch him, didn't make a lot of sense at this point. He (again in my opinion) kind of gritted his teeth and growled "They will probably think I am trying to get you down the mountain"! So... once again I agreed to allow him (like it was some kind of honor) to snow plow me down the mountain except this time I understood that I would have to hang onto his waist. I secretly prayed no one would see or worse yet video the whole episode as he already had one of my stunts on video (I have plans to confiscate this at some point), I didn't want him to have a whole DVD collection of my Lucille Ball moments. Anyway, I grabbed and he took off with me hanging on for dear life. When we began to move I began to hyperventilate again. He heard the commotion and asked if I was okay that's when I had to tell him that actually I felt a little like throwing up. We would ski a while and then stop and rest a while then ski a while and rest a while. At one point while we were resting and I was choking back the vomit he told me to turn around and look at the view. There it was! Below the town had an amber glow to it and it looked absolutely magical. I love the mountains, I love the snow, but actually I just wanted DOWN! I hate that at that moment things weren't magical like they were suppose to be. Eventually we did make it down, in one piece I might add. If it hadn't been for him they would have found me the next morning frozen to death in the fetal position. My lack of ability and my physical weakness prevented me from enjoying the evening and completely distracted me from the beauty of the moment. When I got back to the house I was terribly upset by what I saw as a failure. I felt like not only had I ruined my big adventure by being a wimp, but I had also prevented someone else from getting to enjoy his adventure. My husband was quick to remind me that I had accomplished something that I had been wanting to do and even though it wasn't pretty, I did make it off the mountain and I would have memories of the evening. So even though the experience wasn't ideal, it was memorable and now looking back on it, it was pretty dang magical as well.

Life has a way of distracting me from the beauty that lies all around me. Often I find myself on a perfectly lovely day being distracted by bills that need to be paid, a house that needs to be cleaned or some other crisis that steps in and steals my joy. If I'm not careful I'll be so distracted by my difficulties that I literally can't see the blessings God has poured into my life every single day. I want to have magical moments every day and you know what... I do have magical moments in every day if only I'll get my head out of my crisis (that's not really the word I wanted to use in this sentence but it works just as well I guess) long enough to notice them. For a split second that night the beauty of my surroundings replaced the pain of all my muscles. That night the kindness of a friend changed how my evening was destined to turn out. How many times do I look straight through the beauty and blessing to only see the negative? More often than I care to admit. The shocking reality of how much I take things for granted has hit me right in the face this year. My reality check has resulted in me appreciating every magical moment that comes my way regardless of the pain involved... and that in itself is a blessing.

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