Learning to Ski

This is my sister Amy, with Anna Belle, her border collie and Wilson, our golden retriever.  We skied together for the first time after my friend Lisa showed me how.

Lisa has been skiing since she was 3 years old, and she kindly consented to teach me.  More than that, she stocked her house with every food she could remember me liking for the past 35 years.  More than that, she told me I was a sturdy person because I gave her dirty looks only on the first day and because I didn’t call for a helicopter rescue on the second.  She also pointed out that the most handsome person on the ski trail (who was dressed like an action figure and scampering UP the hill), stopped to encourage me when he saw my wide-eyed, stiff-kneed, gravity-driven progress.  (I pointed out that he helped me because I reminded him of his grandmother.)  She also had a hot tub, so after we skied, we could run bare foot across her very cold deck and jump in and simmer away while the snow fell down on our faces.  She also gave me hot chocolate.  So in all, a good friend and a successful first skiing venture.

I drove to Moosup and continued to ski with my sister.  We broke a trail, heading out behind their house and the donkey barns, to the open fields beyond. I went skiing every day, at Amy and Stan’s farm, on an old abandoned railroad bed, and at the fish hatchery.  It took some time before I felt secure enough on my feet to where I was willing to bring my cameras.   This was a work in progress.  At one point, my breath frosted on the cameras so that I was shooting completely blind.  At another, the surface suddenly gave out beneath me and I was in snow up to my waist, and I had to extricate myself, with great care for my equipment. 

Here is Amy, being quite the nordic, woodland person.

I was amazed how warm, how hot you can be when you’re working like that in the cold, and I’m not good at it yet, but I can stop myself from falling most of the time, and I can begin to feel how it will be when all of the parts of my body will be working together.  So I’m back on Block Island again and believe it or not, I’m hoping for snow. 

Here are some more pictures from skiing at Stan and Amy's farm.

Anna Belle loved nothing more than to lead us around.  She could run along the top of the wind packed snow on this open field.  She had to work hard in the deeper snow in the woods, and I think that for almost the first time in her life, we began to tire her out.  We were very glad about this in Anna Belle's case.

This is one of Stan's barns, taken from the fields behind. 

Here is the edge of one of their fields.  Growing up in the country, I could take for granted the freedom of the land - the room to breathe as one field opened into another,  the trust that life would reach and tangle into every place where there was space and light to do so, the peace and discovery of the deep forest.  Stan has been opening paths into their woods, so we've been able to get back in there.  The skiing will help us extend our winter range into the fields as well.   I will get out... here on Block Island and on the mainland.  It's easy as a grownup to forget how it was when I could know so much just by being outside.  I can remember.

Here are the donkeys in the barn by the house.  They were waiting in the same place as they were when we set out.