Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winter Is Coming

As winter, and more importantly, ski season approaches, I decided to write this. Enjoy.

It was a pleasure to cry on that hill.

Winter had assiduously descended upon the Lake Tahoe region. Rivers froze, bears slept, and a transcendent fire vigorously burned within every skier's heart. Laughter echoed through the valley, powder glistened in the air, and high fives were shared by all.

Well, except me.

I was six years old, had just crashed into a Ponderosa Pine, and was vociferously wailing from within the confides of a tree well. I had also just pissed my pants. My father, mother, and sister were awaiting, hoping, that my limp body would move, illustrating some sign of life. My mother was crying, my sister laughing, and my father nervously looked at the both of them, trying to decide what the appropriate reaction would be. Then to appease the impending motherly wrath, my father began to hike up the hill, his thoughts not possibly far from that his great skiing experiment had failed miserably.

Yet, as my farther stood over me and inspected my broken neon green Volkls, he couldn't help but crack a smile. I didn't know why at the time, but my childhood self took this small token of happiness and applied it to my own being. Ceasing my wail, much to the appeasement of my fellow skiers, I was soon too laughing. Having fun.

So my family and I venture to the bottom of the mountain, pick up hot chocolate, cookies, but most importantly, new skies. That afternoon as the snow peacefully fell, my sister and I tried to race down the bunny slope, get off of a chairlift without it having to make a full stop, but most importantly, conquer the universally dreaded pizza turn, so that we may move on to the more accepted french fry technique. My father, encouraging this transition at every opportunity, would give us both a talk on the chair lift stating that, “Pizza is not on the lunch menu today, only french fries.” The first time he tried this approach, the concept of a metaphor was completely lost on the both of us, as my sister quickly responded, “But I want pizza for lunch.” My father would also shout when I held my arms exorbitantly close to my side, failing miserably to grasp the concept of a pole plant. Yet, this one is more understandable. I looked like a paralyzed bear, just having moved into the scope of a Sarah Palin loving hunter, and as a last desperate plea to retain his moral existence sticks his paws up in the air. Clearly an embarrassment.

So the clocks inevitably struck 4pm, the colossal steel lifts ceased operations for the day, simply sleeping, dreaming, until tomorrow's adventures began. The drive back to San Francisco that evening was not a humdrum slog, but instead an odyssey of nostalgia. We shared stories, exchanged memories, and planned for the future.

Thirteen years later, writing this in a cramped LA dorm room, I can't help but smile. Throughout my life, skiing has been the source of great bliss and hardship. Bones have been broken, blood has been shed, and people have passed long before their time. Love is difficult thing to find in this world, but that is why we all endure the pain, the tragedy, the loss, because we love skiing. So I go to sleep, and I will wake up the next day, knowing that since I have given so much to skiing, skiing will always have me, and I will always have it.

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