Let me be honest here… I was born with a great sense of adventure, but without the athletic prowess to match. My husband, on the other hand, is one of those annoying humans who excels at all physical activities within 5 minutes of trying it out. Even though we’ve been together for almost a decade, sometimes I still struggle with the desire to keep up. Part of the reason we tried cross country skiing this year was because I often felt guilty for wanting to avoid the double blacks.
We decided to try our new venture at Wye Marsh, which we already love for their hiking, snowshoeing and bird sanctuary. They have over 10 km of cross country trails and their beginner-novice trails are crazy picturesque. Because the skiing here is exclusively Nordic, the trails are narrow, snaking around deep forest, framed by groves of trees and creeks on either side. I don’t know why more people don’t ski here, but we rarely run into anyone! It’s perfect for me; quiet, peaceful and I get to go as slow as I want. The only audience I have for my clumsiness are Elliot and the friendly chickadees, who come to say hello whenever I stop.
We had done a ski lesson the previous day, and had done pretty well, but when we got to Wye Marsh, my body had lost all grace and composure. Every time we went down a hill, my skis, poles and legs would go flying in all different directions and I would be on the ground eating snow. I had imagined gliding alongside trees and creeks, the picture of a snow goddess… but instead, well, you can see in this video clip below.
I actually love this video. It reminds me of the amount of fun I started having when I just let go of the desire to be perfect and embraced the fact that every hill, no matter how flat, was likely going to lead to another spectacular fall. Many of them did and before long, I was already laughing my guts out before I had even tried to go down the hill. In some way that I can’t really explain, the feeling of vulnerability at every crest helped me to feel like a child again.
There is a certain freedom in the way a child experiences things, a purity available those precious moments before you learn to feel self conscious or hesitant about putting yourself out there. When was the last time you can remember laughing so hard snot is coming out of your nose? (And being okay with that?)
For the hour we spent where I was able to let go of my own expectations for myself, I felt totally and unexpectedly free. It’s a levity that I find hard to connect to in my every day life, and I’m glad that I was able to touch it, even if at the expense of a few bruises.