Monday, January 4, 2010

Snow: The Better For Crashing Into


"You're budding into such a wordly adult!" a friend enthusiastically exclaimed to me, on a tail end on my New Years trip to Mammoth. She hugged me like a proud parent.

"Yes," I agreed sagely. "I can ski now! I'm no longer a poor latin kid from the ghetto!"

All of the above is a complete exaggeration. Not the actual conversation, but the content. After all, my 'worldly' expertise comes mostly from books, and a poor kid from the ghetto, I never was. I was never rich, but I was always provided for, thanks to a hard working mother and father. And I may have grown up in the inner city, but I spent most of that time being bussed to private schools or at summer camps or afterschool jobs.

But none of that takes away from the very exciting reality that I can ski now! Sort of. I can stand up wearing skis, and I can more or less inch my way down a bunny slope with my arms spread out in front of me for balance.

That counts, doesn't it?

My first trip to Mammoth wasn't without mishaps, but I can't imagine a better way to begin a new year. And quite honestly, it's quite a mirror for my life until now. A heck of a lot of unbalance, the occasional plunge into a white, powdery cloud of snow or the unrelenting smack against a fence (I had literally almost impaled myself, at one point), or the free falling jerk out of my skiis, with a finale of literally flipping over my head before landing on my knees laughing, and finally, the feeling of nervous accomplishment when, just for a moment, I was actually SKIING.

Triumphant moments coupled together with the occasional skids, setbacks and bruises, but always the help of a caring friend or loved one to help pull me back up or record the moment for posterity.

The weekend was not without it's quiet adventures. There was a point where I was walking a mile along a gravel highway in nothing but socks, looking for a car that had been parked further away than anyone wanted. But even as I trudged along the icy road, feet freezing, with a car key in my hand, I had within me a satisfaction that came from the accomplishment of FINALLY doing that thing I always meant to do.

I'm by no means good at skiing. But dammit, I did it. And that's a small success, if there ever was one.

What more can you ask from a New Year?

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