Ski to that happy place...
Look at that smile on my face. Whatever is its source? Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I'm never happier than when I can kick and glide across the snow. Yes! We got snow at last, and we had to wait until nearly February for it. Though at the time of this writing we are suffering dangerously cold temperatures, I managed to take full advantage of the snow last week before the mercury plummeted. I don't know what it is, why cross country skiing is my "happy place," but it is. I'm not a racer, but a classic style skiier. When I was out last week, I enjoyed and marveled at the speed of another woman skate-skiing. She made the same loop I did at least three times in the time it took me to do one on my classics.
I can admire it, but don't aspire to it. No matter how much stress, misery and all the rest life can throw at me, when I'm out in the woods, the snow dropping lightly on me as I glide through, I am completely happy. Though not a skate skiier, I still move with speed--as long as there isn't a bird to catch my eye! I can stop...stand...listen to the silence of the woods...and then that falling snow makes the tiniest of sounds, like fairy dust sprinkling and tinkling all around me.
Is it any surprise that this entry will share yet another story from another ski outing? With my great love for the sport, it's a given I'd want to share it with my sons. Problem being, reliable snowfall combined with reasonable temperatures are all too rare in this part of the world now. So, when we'd had a wonderful snowfall one Saturday, I couldn't wait to get my sons out there. We went through the usual Saturday chores and destinations; karate classes, errands and such. One errand involved stopping at Play It Again Sports for newer, bigger ski boots for the constantly growing boys. Taylor, about four at this time, was not enthused at my plans. For one thing, this being winter, it was already getting dark.
"How will we see? We'll smack into da trees."
I assured him that with the lovely full moon, it would be perfect. We were just going to the county park, after all. It would be like magic in the moonlight. Still, he wasn't buying it.
He was only four. He didn't have a whole lot of choice in the matter. We pulled into the parking lot and I started handing out skis and poles. Taylor could see that yes, we actually could see where we were going and we wouldn't smack into any trees, at least not as a result of darkness. Reassurance regarding visibility didn't boost his confidence in my recreational plan, however. He just found a new category for worry.
"Mom, dere's wolves out dere. The wolves will eat us! I'm not going out there!"
Once again, I reassured him that he was all wrong about that. No wolves to worry about.
"Taylor, there aren't any wolves around here. The closest pack is almost 50 miles away, in the Black River Forest. We've been there, you know how long it takes to get there. The wolves won't come here. Let's go!"
Still not convinced, he stood on his little skis and listened to the silence, just as I'd suggested. Just as we started out onto a trail, we heard it.
"Aaaahhh-OOOOOOO, yip, yip!"
Right down by the LaCrosse River, on the other side of the park.
"Mom, I told you, dere's wolves out dere!"
"No, Taylor, those are coyotes, and they just want us to know they're here. We won't go over there."
We didn't. We spent about an hour under a wonderful winter full moon, shushing and hearing the occasional call of an owl when we'd stop. We only heard the coyotes that one time. No wolves. No one smacked into a tree. It's still one of many of my fondest memories of time spent with my sons when they were young.
Of course it is. I was skiing, wasn't I?