I waited all winter for snow. I waited, not without trepidation, for the skiing season to begin. We purchased season passes for the cross-country ski mountain in the fall, when it seemed like a good idea, when it seemed like it would be a normal winter season.
The longer I had to wait for snow, the more anxious I became.
I am not a cross-country skier. I am someone who, in the middle of their life, has begun to try new things, do new things, explore life more than ever before. It doesn’t hurt that I have the time, the energy and the person with the knowledge to back me up in my new endeavors.
I found someone who not only completes the ‘me’ that I already was, but has begun to broaden my horizons, push my limits, and stretch my world. I have found with him the person I always was, but hadn’t met and never knew was inside me.
I began to kayak over the summer. I had to. It’s really one of his biggest things. I am not talking about the simple leisurely paddle around the lake kind of kayaking. I am talking about having your heart in your mouth, pulse racing, stomach churning, thrilled with excitement and terror, downriver whitewater kayaking. As I have always been in love with water, sunshine and the great outdoors, I conceded to his expertise and jumped in as far and as fast as he would let me go. I fell in love. I absolutely adore kayaking and cannot wait to do more, bigger, greater things. His problem will be to rein me in until my skill catches up to my wants.
I just knew I would love kayaking and I did. I can’t honestly say the same thing about cross-country skiing. The last time I went skiing was about a million years ago and it was (pun intended) all downhill. Not only was downhill the type of skiing I had done, but it also explains the type of experiences I had doing it. Ride the lift to the top of the hill and ski down. Fall, get up, and try again. I was constantly cold, wet, and discontent. Wash, rinse, repeat.
He suggested cross-country skiing and I cannot argue that I am enamored with his other interest, kayaking. Add in the fact that I love spending time with him no matter where we are or what we do so I decided to give it a try. He already had plans to obtain a season’s pass for himself and adding me on with the ‘couple’ rate seemed a cost effective way to go. He rightly assumed that I would give it a number of tries to determine my interest level and latent abilities. I am not the type of person to just immediately give up without sticking something out long enough to really determine whether or not I actually enjoy something.
So I waited.
And then, oh, let me think … I waited some more. Each day, each week, each month I waited for the snow to fall, for the mountain to open, for there to be both the time and the opportunity to put on my skis and hit the trails. I probably should have already mentioned that, in addition to the season’s ski pass, I also was outfitted with … um, well … skis. And ski boots. And ski poles. And gloves. Hats. Mittens. Long underwear. Seasonal outerwear. The whole shebang. Everything the intrepid xc ski newbie could possibly want, need, or desire. Damnme but I had better enjoy skiing, no?
I waited for the perfect opportunity. We needed the snow, because you cannot ski without snow. We needed the time, because you cannot ski while you are at work or visiting in another state. We needed things to come together so I could strap on my skis and hit the trails.
I waited with apprehension. My anxiety about being on skis rose with every tease of snow. I worried about whether I would be warm enough, whether I would be the worst skier in the history of the mountain, whether I would be an inept student, whether I would look ungainly and idiotic in his eyes. I worried about everything you could possibly think to worry about and then probably some more things as well.
I waited and I worried and I agonized. Finally the Fates of Snow and Timing smiled (or laughed in anticipation) and the day arrived. I was filled with hope and dread and relief and excitement. I was dressed in what I deemed warm, appropriate, and stylish. He assured me that adjustments to my outfit could be made on future excursions depending on what worked for me and what did not. He soothed my fears and boosted my confidence.
He put me on skis.
Up the trail we went while I began learning how to move. I was learning how to go uphill as well as how to go downhill. I learned about differences and similarities. I learned what parts of my outfit worked well for me and what needed to be changed. I learned how to fall, how to get up, how to start and how to stop.
I sucked in knowledge like a shop vac after a remodel. I learned and I tried and I failed and I tried again. I asked questions and received answers and got frustrated and became exhilarated.
I fell in love.
I spent all the time I could learning what he had to teach until I chafed at the bit and said ‘enough’. I sent him away and flew on my own. I learned that a hill cannot best you that only you can best yourself. I spent the day trudging up and down the same hill over and over and over again, angry beyond words that I could not ski down it without falling. I tried and failed and tried and tried again. I conquered the hill and rejoiced in my achievement.
I fell in love. I fought and I won.
Only later did I find that I was no longer on the easy path, that through a mix-up of direction and the vagaries of Fate that the hill I set out to conquer was beyond my abilities.
Apparently it was not.
I was in love.
Another winter season is upon us and I again wait with trepidation. I want to ski, to learn, to fly. I want to feel the cold on my face and revel in the freedom on the trails. I want to work, to try, to do, to be. I want to carry my love into the unbroken whiteness of a new fallen snow. I wish to marvel at the sparkles of the sunlight glinting off the snow. I wish to inhale the crisp, clear air and smell the piney scent of the evergreens.
I want to challenge myself and emerge victorious. I wish to have someone by my side, encouraging, smiling, and cheering me on to victory.
But I again wait with trepidation. Christmas carols inundate the radio waves. Vacation plans are made, broken, remade. The end of the year is nigh and still … snow has not fallen.
I do not know if I again have a season pass this year. I do not wish to ask. I am afraid. Have I not explained that I enjoy this frosty sport? Am I unworthy of a pass? I do not wish to give up this pleasure that I have found but I cannot help but wonder.
Have I lost my love?