Two good skiers & a dog named Rudy

Two good skiers & a dog named Rudy

Today I went cross country skiing.  When the invitation came early in the morning, the thermometer at the post office read 10 below zero.  I prayed for a warm up by ski time.  Luckily, temps zoomed upwards to about 4 degrees by 1 p.m. 

It felt surprisingly warm in the sheltered woods.  If you were skiing down by the lake, the wind chill might have proved challenging.  Inland, none of us complained of the cold.  The terrain was mostly flat with occasional dips and dives to provide a little exhilaration.  You could hear the swoosh, swoosh, swoosh of our skis as we slid along on the snowmobile trail.  Perfect afternoon, right?

Until, suddenly, slip!  And I found myself staring upwards through the branches after landing hard atop my tailbone on the icy  trail.  The sudden pain shot through my rear end, bringing back memories of a junior high tumble which hurt for years afterward.  The immediate question becomes:  how does one rise?  One shifts and shimmies and leans on those ski poles and slowly aims upright. 

Nancy and Jane (the good skiers pictured above) fussed a bit, but I was determined to continue.  Off we went!  It really was a beautiful mid-winter day.  The pain lessened and almost disappeared.  Until….another fall.  Then another one….

Why are some people natural athletes while others of us struggle to maintain grace under sports pressure?  One of my earliest sports memories often returns with nightmare-like clarity:  I am a six year old in the elementary gym and gigantic fierce boys approach throwing dodge balls with lethal force.  Eventually the ball hits you.  It always does.  Only after the pain of the dodge ball would you be “Out” and allowed to quit.  You prayed for the dodge ball to strike while simultaneously fearing the pain which would end the agony of the fear.  Yikes!  Is it no wonder that some of us remain awkward and challenged in the sports arena? 

Nancy and Jane relaxing on our ski

Nancy and Jane relaxing on our ski

After about an hour of swooshing and falling, we wound our way back to Nancy’s house.  It really was a good time.  But now….I’m home….and the pleasant memories are starting to fade.  Every muscle in my body aches.  I can’t get up off the chair or down again without whimpering.  My knee feels like someone tapped it with a sledgehammer.  (Another friend just called recommending an Epsom salt-baking soda soak in very hot water. )

You may wonder:  will I ski again this winter?  Most probably, Yes.  The beauty and enjoyment and rosy cheeks usually wins out over the “owwwww, this hurts!”

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