The Carrot


Did I succeed in being in bed, lights out before 12? Yes. This reward thing could be the hot ticket for getting me to actually get more sleep and more rest.

Am I succeeding in feeling inspired tonight? No. But I did get to ski in a foot of new snow for the day.

I shot this photograph on my Blackberry (slightly different image quality…) while waiting in a ridiculous line for the lift to the top of the mountain to open. As soon as they started running it, people started waiting. I took a couple of runs and joined the party. It was a party too… There were no upper lifts open, most on “wind hold” so when they started shuttling the ski patrol up REX the crowds gathered. Being in the “single” line (or mob), I somehow managed to be on one of the first 15 or 20 chairs to arrive at the top of the mountain. Skiing off the lift, I started to giggle. In over 40 years of skiing at Crystal Mountain, I’ve never arrived at the top of the mountain and had untracked snow spread before me like a blanket. All I had to do was point my skis and go. Not a chance of crossing another set of tracks. I think that alone was worth the price of the lift ticket. I will never forget the sight. Too bad I didn’t have the presence of mind to pull out my Blackberry before heading down.

I take off and go skiing by myself for an entire day every once in a while, maybe once or twice a year. Its cheap therapy. Something about being in the mountains, skiing all day by myself resets all the dials. Its not always easy to come home and a bit of a readjustment that I’ve never been able to figure out. Maybe its the sense of freedom, maybe its that everything is so simple. Its a different feeling than when I was in New York by myself. There are so many options and so many distractions in a city. In the mountains there are few. You make a decision and you go. You pay attention to one thing. You are fully present in your body or you crash. It could also be that Crystal is a very familiar place and New York is not and that I am almost always comfortable in the mountains and less so in the city. Small details. Maybe its just that New York is out of my comfort zone and Crystal is well inside.

I love to ski with my kids. For 15 years I’ve mostly skied with at least one of them. Its always a production to get everyone’s clothes, gear and food into the car. Every time I go by myself, today being no different, I’m sure that I am forgetting something. How could it be so simple? I never do, and its always amazes me how much of a different experience it is.

I was thinking about how much I enjoy both today, and how much I will miss skiing with them when they are all gone. Charlotte called while I was driving home through a crazy hail storm this afternoon. She’s coming home for a week on Monday. When I told her I’d been skiing in a lot of new snow, her first comment was, “well, I better bring my ski clothes then!” Robby looked completely despondent this morning going off to school with me going off to the mountain. I am grateful that we share this love. It will always bond us, like it did in my family growing up. Knowing that soon two of them will be away from home and mostly skiing elsewhere, with other people, brings a bittersweetness to the images that come to me when Charlotte mentions going skiing while she’s home.

Looking through the topics that I have covered in this blog as I type tonight, and thinking about the title, I realize how far I stray from the initial thoughts that inspired it. I wonder how I find them all connected to the “What do you do?” question. Its a simple question, but it has a different answer every day.

Sometimes, I get all fired up about it. But its only the implications and motivations behind the question that I often object to. Today, I would answer the question very simply… lots of things. Its not feeling burdensome. I have three kids. I love doing things with them. I will miss them when they’ve all gone to their own lives. Tomorrow, I may feel differently. Tonight, after spending the day alone, doing something I love, I don’t feel the urgency to “do” something different that I often feel. It will come back, I’m sure, on a normal day, but I’m hoping that my “resting project” may ease some of that urgency and make space for the unknown in all of my plans.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s