Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ten Years Gone

It's been mentioned here, a time or twenty five before, this thing called skiing.

In many ways, it's been the love of my life. It called, I answered. It beckoned, I came. It schooled, I learned. We were sort of married, skiing and I. It's taken me beautiful, unbelievable places, given delicious moments of triumph, wonderful people, livelihood - filled me with purpose and set the rhythm of my years.

We hit the advent of year number ten this fall. To celebrate, I damn near filed for divorce.

Fall of 2002. It was a dark night, I was just barely sixteen. I followed instructions to the basement of a building in downtown Boise. Sat down at a table of strangers and scrawled my name in red Sharpie on a sticky tag. A gregarious man with a commanding nose and booming voice took over, introducing himself and his quiet, petite feminine co-part in leading the group interview. Something like eight of us followed suit with our own introductions. I was the youngest there, by far. I wanted the job, though, wanted it with all my heart and soul. My blood ran cold with nerves but I revved the stamina of my confidence, kept pace with the group. And, was hired. I know I squealed for joy. I cashed out my entire savings account buying a complete setup of gear and clothing. I was so, so stoked. I taught all three larger-than-life ski seasons of my high school years.

August 2005, I'm just about to turn nineteen. I'm a fish out of water, blue collar daughter, going to college for the first time, had thrown myself into life in downtown Salt Lake City. I am, to be sure, clueless, green as grass, though I wouldn't know it for quite some time. I apply to work at Alta, and meet with no less than three ski school managers to interview at a bagel shop - I didn't even own a car yet. Truth be told - I'd never even been to Alta. Grandpa raised me on his endorsement; simply put, Alta was the best, and thus it was the only place I wanted to be. The first time I drove Utah State Highway 210 to join my new ski school family at a pre-season breakfast... I cried a little inside - with awe and overwhelm.

Places that made me tremble a bit to ski that first year have become my favorites in the six seasons since. I've grown into my self there, in so many ways. I've cried real tears in that canyon, been still and silent, screamed with joy, laughed and bonded with place and people and periphery and found myself a HOME in the heart of Little Cottonwood, a place that will always be sacred and special to me because there I have been ALIVE. So very much alive.

Yet last month there I was, staring down the barrel of the coming season, not knowing where to pull the trigger, stay or go, aim my sights elsewhere or focus on what I know. Had been feeling the pull to invest in the more year-round things I have going on, to settle a bit, to hold still in one place for more than six months at a time.Thought through the options, alternatives, motives...

And in the end, I'm going back. Lucky number ten, a nice, round, double digit.

Sacrifice may very well be the heart of love.
Sometimes it's letting go that best teaches what we hold close and dear.

Peace to you.