Sunday, December 3, 2017

Isbjørn is My Spirit Animal

Ah, a full week of heaven at Silver Star over Thanksgiving!  Seven days to ski/eat/sleep/chat with friends/repeat.  The first part of the week was the best: gray and cold and snowing hard every day, my favorite kind of weather!  Skiing by myself every day deep into the storm, not another soul in sight, reminded me of how much I love polar bears, and that reminded me of these words by one of my favorite authors, Tim Cahill:

"I wondered, then, why I saw something of my own inner life in the polar bear. Indeed, there was something of everyone's life, some universal identity. It was about three in the morning, a rather hopeless time, when you think about the loved one who died, the broken relationship that was supposed to last forever. We've all been there: wounded; weak. We retreat into isolation, perhaps self-pity. If we survive -- and we will -- the broken parts heal over. We are, perhaps, stronger than we were. Whatever hurt us, whatever nearly broke us -- it's still gone. We're lone travelers across a barren landscape, but in time, we begin to move through it with assurance -- powerful, completely wild, and independent. Like the ice bear."

At the end of every afternoon I skied out of the dark and reconnected with the human world, with chai and soup and conversation at Bugaboo's, my home away from home, then headed to the rooftop hot tub at my condo.  With the bubbles turned off, I let the snowflakes fall silently on my head and soaked away the day.  Then I was starving for dinner, either by myself in my condo with a good book or catching up with various friends at the Bulldog, people I only see once a year at Silver Star.

Later in the week, the alpine slopes opened, more of my friends showed up, and the temperature warmed then dropped again, leaving the trails a little chunkier and slidier.  I found a manageable hill and added some solid hill repeats, 4x10" one day, and then a little steeper 15x2" another day.  Happy muscles, happy skier, happy day.  The week was just the break I needed from all the cares of the real world, and the perfect length -- by the end, I was happy to ride home with Peter and Lisa, snug in the back seat while blizzards raged outside the warm car, and happy to go back to work the next day, knowing that the snow and the wind and the deep, dark forest, the weasels and deer and moose, and farther north the hunting polar bear, are all still out there somewhere.

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