Sunday, January 20, 2013

I outgrew that...or did I?

I LOVE this phrase.  I was introduced to it by a beautiful friend who lives far away now, but I think of her often, especially when I use this phrase.  Its her way, now my way, of answering the question "Do you ..."

"Do you knit?"

"Do you bake?"

"Do you ski?"

Instead of saying "Yea, well, I used", I say "I outgrew that".  What I like so much about it is that it implies so much more.  It gives honor and credit to these phases of our life....these passages of time...these character building portions of our life. 

I used to ski.  It was actually a big part of my life.  Once a week - almost every week of the winter (at least the weeks that had snow), all through Jr high and High school.  I took an annual ski trip way up north every year.  I wasn't particularly good; not at all daring....but I would have called myself a skier.

So to just say "yea - I used to ski" seems like I'm just throwing away part of my life....a big chunk of it actually.  Because skiing was what I did with my dad.  He was the one who took me skiing, taught me all I know about the sport.  Its what we did together...once a week - almost every week of the winter.  And once a year - way up north.  He was there.  HE made it happen.  So I cannot just throw away those years that we spent together...that quality relationship-building time together.

I haven't skied in many, many years now.  I'd tell you its because of the money...but that's not the truth.  I know how to prioritize my expenses if I really want something.  The reason I don't ski anymore is because I've finally come to accept the fact that I just don't enjoy it!!  Sure, I like being outdoors.  And I love the views from the mountaintops.  But here's what I don't like about skiing:
- heights - you know, the chairlift, the mountain tops
- rushing downhill
- steep hills....the thrill...the daring....

And aren't those items the key ingredients of skiing - the whole point of it all?  If you don't like that, then you don't actually like skiing.


(to say I'm a slow learner would be the understatement of the year. gets worse...just wait for it).

So for 12+ years now I've been mourning the loss of my winter past time.  No more peaceful meandering trails through the woods; no more breaking fresh fallen snow; no more bundling up in cute, coordinating snow clothes; no more hot chocolate stops to warm the body.  I liked all that.

Lately though (lately as in the past 3 weeks), I've been winter walking. 
What's that you ask?

Well its a new thing that clearly I've invented as no one else before me ever thought of it...or at least they never bothered to share it with me (told you "I'm a slow learner" was an understatement)

Beginning New year's day I bundled us all up and dragged the whole family (all 3 of us) for a walk in the woods). 
And on that day, with a light covering of snow on the world, I was transported back in time - in my memory, to my favorite ski run...
a long, quiet, relatively flat trail that wound through the woods as it made its slow way down the mountain. 
Those were my favorite runs, and most every big mountain had one. 
 There I was, in my home territory - the south shore of Massachusetts, no mountain in sight, barely a hill, but amongst the trees, in the woods, on a wide meandering path.  I was far more comfortable this time - in my walking boots, without the cold rush of wind as I moved forward, and the full experience of skiing came rushing back - the sounds, the feel, the smell of the outdoors....of winter.

Had I found it again?  Or was it that I finally captured what I really liked all along - the woods, the outdoors, the chill, the peace - that I was foolishly chasing on the mountain on two planks of wood.

All I know is that I'm happy out there....and so is he.
So, yes - I've outgrown skiing, but I realize now that I've not outgrown winter.  Not at all In fact.  In fact....I may be falling in love all over again. 

PS: We've been to the woods several times since Jan 1st, always in broad daylight, but I cannot get the lines from Robert Frost out of my head (my mom would be proud):

Stopping By Wood on a Snowy Evening:
Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though
He will not see me stopping here
to watch his woods fill up with snow
The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
Miles to go before I sleep.

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