First Ski of the Season

I managed to squeeze in my first ski of the season just before January’s end, with only ten hours to spare. After two snow heavy winters, this year’s in Southwestern Ontario seems a bit odd. My one year old snow blower has earned its keep on only two instances. There was a bit of snow Friday, so I thought yesterday might give me occasion to reacquaint myself with my Nordic roots.

I generally ski on a local golf course. It is only a few minutes’ drive away and a two perimeter rounding of Rockway Golf Course is just right to ready me for an open-faced herring sandwich lunch with Akvavit to chase. The snow was a bit sparse. Here and there sleepy grass was sticking out tentative tentacles sleuthing the air for hints of spring. It will be awhile. In truth the bared bits were without cover because other parts of the greens, fairways and roughs collected snow as a result of the persistent wind from a westerly direction.

The ski-out was downhill and into the wind, and the ski-back was uphill with the wind behind me. On my second go-around, I saw two young girls tobogganing down a gentle slope, laughter at hand. I went around a corner, and as I was making my way up a tedious hill, I noticed a maple-leaf twig skidding across the wind-crusted snow, a bright-red sail running at broad reach. We were making about the same time, although I was having a harder go of it. I suspect that I would have lost the race, had he not slid into my ski track, wherein my worthy opponent met his demise.

I was left to finish the last bit of the round on my own, taking in the peculiar beauty of winter. The trees that grace the course are spectacular in a different way in winter. Nude, they bare their vein-like highways of trunk, branch and twig that bridge heavenly reach and earthly roots. These vulnerable, gentle giants serve as a parable of the mystery that is life: heaven kisses earth and for those with eyes to see, peace slides into view and the world seems well, if only for this instant.

Sometimes this instant is all we have, and the wise make the most of it. Perhaps they stop skiing for a second, and notice the cold air that reminds the lungs that nothing can be taken for granted. Perhaps they look about and notice animal tracks that trace a life that has wrestled out a reasonable peace with winter. Perhaps they release a prayer into the air, for loved ones near and far, and know that life is precious, and beautiful, and best lived in each moment.

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17 thoughts on “First Ski of the Season

  1. Wonderful. It reminds me of a quote from Rabindrath Tagore “The butterfly counts not months but moments and has time enough.”

  2. dianerivers says:

    I feel like I just made the trek with you! I’m always so glad you chronicle these moments for the rest of us, as some may not (speaking for myself) see quite the same beauty in the snow.

    • agjorgenson says:

      Haha! Today we are seeing quite a lot of beauty! My dental hygenist today told me that when she first arrived in Canada she thought the snow lovely until she went outside. But I will take the cold over mind numbing heat any day. Nordic blood, I guess.

  3. Marie Taylor says:

    I love the sparseness of winter, how the bones show. Thanks for taking us on a walk with you.

  4. jannatwrites says:

    I’m not a skier, but I imagine the trek was quite a work out. I had to chuckle at the twig’s demise… that’s one way to win a race, hehe 🙂

  5. R says:

    Wonderful, Allen – such a beautiful call to live in the moment we’re given. Thanks.

  6. The last paragraph is my favorite.

  7. shoreacres says:

    When I first glanced at this, I thought your worthy opponent was human, and was rather concerned! Now that I’ve read the entire lovely post, I’m both relieved and saddened for the little leaf. Ah, well. None of us can choose our end, after all.

    Stopping to notice is the key, isn’t it? Or, occasionally, noticing and then stopping. Had I not stopped after noticing that dock along the beachfront at Indianola, I would have been minus two lovely photos!

    Thanks for sharing your “moments of noticing” with us. Suffering as I do from snow envy, they’re doubly nice.

    • agjorgenson says:

      I’m glad you are able to vicariously enjoy the snow. I can’t quite imagine a winter without it – although we have had some winters with a paucity of snow. Stopping, or being stopped, seems to be such a gift. And the crazy thing is that we usually are stopped by what, at first blush, annoys us. I, too, am glad you were stopped by that beachfront. We are the richer for it!

  8. I used to have a pair of Lampinen wooden x-c skiis, that were lost or abandoned years ago. After skiing briefly in Finland last month, I went out and got an end-of-season special….anxious to try them out! Thanks for your vivid word-picture.

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