Vicki Wentz: My friends, sometimes you just snow
I went to the mountains with friends last weekend, since we had three days off, and got there just in time to see the snow! Ten frickin’ inches of it, slammin’ down like angry BBs, defying the fairly warm ground not to let it accumulate. HAH, said the snow, absorb THIS!
And, with the wind blowing as well, it was like walking through a sandstorm – snow in every nook and cranny you own, I mean nooks and crannies you didn’t even KNOW you owned. And, I absolutely loved it.
I may have mentioned a few ... or 11,000 ... times that I love the snow. Really. Snow is beautiful and peaceful and soft and you can sled and make snow angels, and then you have a perfect excuse for hot chocolate and s’mores, and no one will think you’re a greedy, self-indulgent underachiever ... whereas if you just turn the air-conditioner to “frozen,” put on your snow gear and play your winter-weather exercise videos, folks may not be quite as understanding as you slip marshmallows into your cocoa and onto your shish-ke-bab fork in front of the fire ... not that I’ve ever done that.
Anyway, while we were in the mountains, my friends wanted to do a little more in the snow than I wanted to do. Let’s face it, they said, you can only build so many snow forts before the slopes are calling.
What are you talking about, I replied, I’ve never gotten a call from a slope in my life. And further, if a slope ever did call me, I’d hang up.
You know how there are some things you just understand about yourself? Instinctively, I mean? Like, when someone first explained camping to me, I knew instantly that it would not be my cup of tea ... ever. (On the other hand, when I first heard about Versailles, I knew immediately that royalty was somewhere in my blood.) Well, skiing is one of those not-my-cup-of-tea things, which I intuited at around age 6.
This is because by the age of 6, I had pulled a stone birdbath over on my head, requiring multiple stitches; I had fallen from the forbidden monkey bars at kindergarten and broken my arm, requiring two weeks in the hospital and two surgeries; and I had skated into a corner with an open folding chair, which closed on – and cut off – the end of my middle finger, requiring hospitalization, surgery, and copious lectures. So by then I understood somewhere in my subconscious that this would be my life.
So, at the ripe old age of 6, I pictured myself standing on two highly slippery pieces of wood at the top of a very steep mountain, and somehow I just knew it would not end well. And, it is gratifying now, at the ripe old age of 50-none-of-your-business, to realize that I was right. Even today, the image of me standing on waxed toothpicks on the crest of a mountain, looking down, waaaay down, across that crystalline slope at that sparkling snow ... I mean, wow ... just makes me want to fall to my knees, roll over and play dead.
Yes, I can unquestionably picture myself huddled down as small as possible, covered with snow at the summit, as skiers slalom and mogul all over and around me (obviously not really up on the skiing lingo) aware of the sun slowly sinking, the air turning frigid as darkness settles in, the stars like stabbing ice pick points above me (don’t tell ME I can’t paint a picture!) as even the latest skiers trudge off to their cars. And, then I can picture me ever-so-slowly drawing my frozen cellphone with two frozen fingers from my frozen pocket, punching 911, and putting it excruciatingly slowly to my frozen ear to whisper frozenly, “Help!”
Yep, that’s a vision I can conjure. Sure, my way I might lose a toe, but if I attempt to go down that snowy hillside on anything but a stretcher, let’s just say there will be consequences that I am not inclined to pursue. Nothing good can come of it, my friend. Nothing at all.
On the other hand, while my friends hit the slopes, spending wads of money on skis, lift tickets, and eventually months of physical therapy (unlike me, my friends are old), I spend cheerful, contented hours in the lodge, shopping, sitting by the fire, and sipping mugs of hot cocoa. And, outside the window, I watch hordes of middle-aged skiers vehemently denying the passage of years – the crunching of knees, the back spasms, the aching of arthritic joints – by flying off – ... I mean down the mountain in pursuit of their youth.
Me? I know exactly where my youth is – at home watching “Zumba Skiing!”
Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Readers may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her website, www.vickiwentz.com.