ski trip

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: dirt.

What worries a skier about the opening photograph?

Yesterday the introverted thinker and I went water skiing. On Mount Baker. It rained the whole time. Cold! And the introverted thinker’s knee hurt. We bagged it once I had ice puddles in my ski boots and could squeeze a stream out of my ski gloves.

On the very first lift ride, I realized that my wrist pocket was unzipped. Cash was still in there but the car key wasn’t. We skied down and I checked each place I’d been. No key. We got back on the lift and watched. There were a lot of small black specks. We discussed how much fun it would be to wait for AAA on the top of the mountain.

We skied down, going very slowly right under the lift.

FOUND IT!

Whew. After that neither of us whined. We skied until we were soaked. Her knee was being uncooperative and she was skiing warily. I couldn’t wear goggles because then my glasses fogged too much. Neither of us could see much through the rain. We went up a higher lift and then it was heavy wet slushy snowing. Then we really couldn’t see. Both nearly crashed skiing by proprioception, when a dip was invisible. I stopped at a sign and then fell backwards, visual cues just weren’t working for balance. Unhurt.

And what does this have to do with dirt? I started skiing at age 9 on the east coast, in upstate New York. We would go from Johnson City and meet my uncle and cousins at the small Labrador Mountain ski area. It was a family area. The snow was often awful. We skiied on ice, slush and dirt. Patches of dirt would show through and we learned to avoid them and avoid the rocks. The first time I skiied powder in Colorado I was mystified: I didn’t know how to ski it. But slush on top of hardpacked moguls? No problem.

So skiing Baker put me back to my tweens. The conditions were so familiar. My body was so comfortable with really crappy snow. The ungroomed parts had so much water on top that skis practically stopped. If I had been dressed in foul weather gear I could have skied most of the day.

But soaking wet is another matter. We turned in the skis and ate a late lunch. Happily used the car key to get dry clothes. Changed and drove back to Bellingham. We had a fabulous dinner looking out over the bay with a wonderful sunset.

Bellingham Bay with yellow, orange, pink and blue sunset over islands.
dinner and a sunset

Blessings all.

Hurricane heart

On Sunday I went to Hurricane Ridge with two friends and skied. It was sunny and gorgeous and the mountains were out. I have never skied up there before. There is a rope tow on the front side and a poma lift on the back. I hadn’t ridden a poma before and it’s been years since I rode a t-bar lift….. used unfamiliar muscles going up the hill as well as down!

Under the surface

For the Daily Prompt: mope.

Mope. We think we should not mope. Go down, be down, downer, don’t go there… but sometimes we have to let ourselves feel, and feel deeply, even if it’s not the popular feelings.

I was grumpy four days ago driving with my daughter for a skiing vacation. She gently told me not to grump at her. By the next morning it was clear why I was grumpy: an awful cold had come to visit and I was not going to ski. And I probably got it from her, but maybe not, and it doesn’t matter. I moped a little, but was mostly proud that I rested for two days and did not try to push through it, power through it, feel the burn…. I’ve done that too many times and then gotten really sick. I rested for two days and slept for twelve hours daily and moped a little. And yesterday I did ski for part of a day. Then we drove home, my daughter driving most of it, and I hurt all over by the time we got home….

If every feeling is a gift, a visitor, sent from the Beloved, as Rumi writes… welcome them all. This body is a guesthouse, says Rumi. Welcome moping and treat it gently and with kindness and understanding, as we all long to be treated….

The Guesthouse.

 

Armour Suit III

My trial run for this vacation is swimming 400 yards. The swim is slow but fine. However, at 4:30 am I start having vertigo and throwing up. Have to cancel clinic. Lasts about 4 hours. Not reassuring for our Christmas plans.

My daughter has her wisdom teeth out on Monday before Christmas, so is instructed to not exercise heavily for five days. I got dry sockets and was sick as snot in college, but mine were much more impacted. She does fine, stops the hydrocodone in 24 hours, and drops to a 200mg ibuprofen three times a day by Christmas. On with the ski plans!

We head for a family resort on the east side. Up to to slopes on a hotel ski bus the first day, renting skis. For the first time ever, my goal is to ski gently. I have been skiing since age 9, but have not skied in five years and had two major bouts with strep A that affect my muscles. The second time my fast twitch muscles didn’t work for ten months. The first goal was to survive and the second is will I get my muscles back?

I rent downhill skis. Last time I skied telemark, but they don’t have any to rent, and anyhow, tele is harder. In college I had 190cm dead straight Heads for downhill, so now they rent me 163cm skis. We ride the lift up. 20 degrees at the top, an inch of new snow on groomed slopes and gorgeous. And… I can ski.

I am trying NOT to engage the armour suit. My massage person thinks that’s what made me sick swimming, reengaging it and just trashing my muscles. He’s right, I think. I just swam the way I always have, but slowly. My goal down the hill is NOT to fall into old patterns. I ski gently, let the skis do much of the work, carving swoopy turns. Every so often I get quickly and feel the suit kicking in and I back off. I drag my right pole for balance when I am tired.

My daughter asks for pointers on our third or fourth run. She has not skied for five years either. She is doing the work and I show her how to finish a turn using the curve of the ski. Finishing the turn lets her slow down, so she gets the swoopy feel in the turn but doesn’t lose control. On the lift we watch people. Nearly everyone drops their hands. Try turning your lower body with your arms dropped behind. Doesn’t work. Hands and shoulders down the hill and let the lower body do the turning….

I can ski! I ski with my toes lifted, not curled and gripping the ground. It changes my balance and I have to pay attention not to engage the suit. By 11 I want food and on the chair at 2 I am on my last run: I can feel the cold through my coat. We have a few more days, save energy. Also my right shin is informing me that I’ve bruised the crap out of it…

And the next day! Bruised shin, but more skiing, still gently. Now I have hope that I will get muscles back! Hooray for hope! Hooray for skiing toes up! Hooray for skiing without armour!