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Entries in ski (8)


Ten on Ten: Gear Day

I missed fall in the mountains this year because I've been traveling for most of the past six weeks.  I was lucky that one of those trips was both fun and soul food (more on that soon).  The group of lovely ladies I gathered with by the sea suggested we start a new Ten on Ten project, a perfect way to bring me back into this space that I've missed so much.

Winter has made its first overtures in the high country since I was last here. 

Winterizing our family apparently involves a frenzy of gear acquisition, starting with post-season mountain bike shopping to replace Will's bike that was stolen earlier this year.  (The gambit here is that if you're willing to buy a new bike and let it collect dust for six months before you can use it, you deserve 30 percent off.)

We're all itching to hit the slopes, and the snow has already started falling.  With Ezra growing like a weed, season ski rentals are the only rational approach to gear.  The minute we walked into the ski shop Ezra and I headed for the rental racks.

Ezra was so happy he refused to take his ski boots off for the rest of the day.

On the way home Will couldn't resist riding his new bike for the last five miles, even though it's straight uphill.

And ever his father's son, Ezra insisted on a short hike in his ski boots.

Welcome winter.  We're ready to play.

For more 10 on 10 goodness, head to see what Tara Romasanta has in store.


An Antidote to Silence

In response to the most severe writer's block I've personally experienced, Will suggested I just post some pictures.  And I thought, hmmmmmm.  That's right.  After all, this was supposed to be a photoblog.

So I'll try silence with pictures and see what happens.


Note to Self: Play

The Word
By Tony Hoagland

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is as beautiful, it touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent you from some place distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing,

that also needs accomplishing
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue

but today you get a telegram,
from the heart in exile
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time,
to sit out in the sun and listen.

Substitute "snow" for "sunlight."  And "ski" for "sit out in the sun and listen."  Then you'll have a sense for the little love telegram that arrived yesterday.  Eight hours of play, practically unheard of.  A pleasure that was (very) successfully accomplished and for which I am profoundly grateful.


Foreign Diplomacy

Ezra is perfect.  Ezra is officially taken with skiing and demands to be given the opportunity as soon as a flake falls from the sky.  He came home from school the other day with a book about space and pointed matter-of-factly at a picture of a nebula and saying that's just the universe.  Just the Universe.  He pointed at a picture of the Milky Way and said that's the Milk Wave.  He has taken to declaring how much he LIKES things lately, even when he doesn't really.  I LIKE beans!  I LIKE tea! 

I desperately need these cute three-year-old-isms right now, since I am the imperfect one.  The one who would have run away to Morocco to drink mint tea and eat lamb weeks ago if it wasn't for the occasional concession to civilization he offers.  I still give him the best of me, of course.  But that may not be saying much, and most days lately that doesn't leave a lot left over for anyone or anything else.

It feels like we are locked in constant foreign diplomacy.  He is a small, intransigent, strategically-important country I don't really understand.  I am the envoy from the United States of Reasonable and I offer physical protection and bribery with the only currency he really values: M&M's, Angry Birds, Dr. Seuss.  I'll give you two M&Ms if you eat that carrot.  You can play Angry Birds for 15 minutes if you poop on the potty instead of your pants.  Brush your teeth now, or there are no bed time stories. 

With the exception of the books, this is a currency made up of things I never thought I would have in my house.  I thought I was on the gold standard, but apparently I'm Ben Bernanke and QE3 is printed on video games and sugar.  It's demoralizing.

But he wants to ski.  And go to Mars.  And as of last night he likes to sip herbal tea with me.  These are small signs that our national interests may one day align, and we can run off to Morocco together.  Or at least meet for negotiations on the slopes at Davos.


Coming Back

The snow gods have been unkind to our favorite mountain spots so far this winter, but Saturday brought our first few inches of the new year.  A few inches of snow is the difference between what's the point? and wheeeee!  A few inches of snow makes everything new again. 

Here the snow is too dry to even make a decent snowball.  Every single flake holds its distinct shape.  I was the first one on the cross-country trail yesterday morning, and the snow fluttered and parted around my skis as the sun broke through the morning clouds.  The snow is still too shallow to cover the remains of the summer grasses, and it's too light to weigh them down.  How much does a snowflake weigh?  I skied past a dead tree that fell last week.  Was there one snowflake that did the deed?  The tree just couldn't take the weight of one more snowflake?


I wonder if this is how moods work.  Life piles on, and you're strong, but one imperceptible thing you probably don't even notice gets added to the load and suddenly you're sinking under the weight of it. 


For a while now I've craved silence.  I've turned off the radio, except for the classical station occasionally.  I put all the CDs away.  The cacophony of kids over the holidays actually hurt.  I sit every morning and meditate in the dark, feasting on the quiet.

But I noticed this weekend that my ears are hungry.  I want headphones, and dancing around the house, and singing loud. 

This feels good.  This feels like coming back.