I wrote this this morning for an essay contest, thought I would share it with the rest of you too. For those of you still slave to the professional machine, give it some thought and make sure you aren't doing the same thing I did ... leave a passion by the way side.
It’s unfortunate sometimes what life can do to one’s inner child. Pursuing a career, had for some fourteen years captured every last bit of my passion. The thrill of success mysteriously convincing my adrenal glands they were satiated. Work days blurring into moonlighting while the depression layered on deep. Then three incredibly inspiring seasons ago I found myself standing at the top of Winter Park, my Raichle Flexon’s clicked into curvaceous skis a good 6 cm wider and at least 30 cm shorter than the unused relics in my basement.
Instantly I was transported back nearly 30 years, standing there an early grade schooler, anxiously wondering, how this would feel, was I able, how do I turn, what if I fall. I looked around and watched experts rolling over the backside, disappearing into the trees camouflaged by their rooster tails throwing love into the air along with their joyful hollers. I didn’t yet know how it would be, but I knew for certain that I wanted that to be me.
So I pushed off and started gliding, the air reminding me I was alive as I cut through wind and the deep memory blockages which had hijacked my lifestyle. I was a child again, my dad skiing alongside, endearingly managing my efforts to stay upright. “Tips together, knees bent, make a wedge, make a wedge, slow it down, CAREFUL, CAREFUL” Everything else melted away and it was just me and the child I had abandoned so many years ago. We were blissfully happy, there in that moment of clarity, made possible by the freedom afforded by skis and snow.
The contour of the corduroy transcended space and time to connect a mountain in Colorado with a hill in Illinois. The tracks of my first descent recorded in it’s meter. I stopped and looked back to see this evidence of my success, the shape of the turns beautiful perhaps to only me, and I was convinced that not only was I able to do this, but that I wanted to do this every day. As both a 30 something and a barely something, I had fallen deeply in love with a sport on my first time out. Despite the thousands of vertical feet I had logged up to my graduation from high school, that day was truly my first day skiing if only because more than a decade later I wasn’t the same person. Until that day of course, where I re connected with the genuine me.
Then late last season, reborn with a new record, thousands of vertical feet long, I once again defeated the space time continuum. Skiing backwards in front of my daughter on that same corduroy profile, only this time it was my voice. “Tips together, knees bent, make a wedge, make a wedge, slow it down, CAREFUL, CAREFUL” The cautious smile on her face telling me everything I already knew about the life changing possibilities of a first day of skiing.