Our winter return to Telluride draws to a close in two days on Wednesday. This has been quite the trip! We had two major storm systems blow through with lots of snow and wind and cold temperatures, and that was followed by several days of warmer almost spring like weather.
Today was my second to last day skiing with Bill Glasscock. It was still frozen solid when we took the first ride up, and we saw the fresh corduroy texture left by the grooming equipment on “Coon Skin,” now renamed “Cimarron.” This is a fairly steep slope that pretty much goes straight from top to bottom on the town side of the mountain. I got out on an incline above my uphill ski and I started to chatter across the corduroy unable to get my edge to bite into the hard snow. I slipped and fell and then slid down the face of the mountain for about 200 yards before I could stop myself. Moments like that make one remember that there is some aspect of danger in flying down a frozen mountain on waxed skis with razor edges. Fortunately the only thing I hurt was my pride.
“Let me show you the difference between inclination and angulation with this little drill” said Bill as we returned to the top of the mountain. He had me stand with my skis parallel to his about four feet away from him and he reached out his hands.
“Here, pull against me” he said, and we both came up on our edges a little while we pulled against each other. “Now go do that” he said. We took another two runs down the same slope, and by the end, my edges held firm. Bill has such a natural way of teaching the body instead of informing the brain. I felt my uphill-to-downhill ski naturally pulling back as I came around my turns and “angulated” to put the maximum pressure on the inside edge of my dominant ski at the bottom of each turn. That’s a lot to say about “Now go do that.”
Once the sun hit the slopes and the snow softened up a bit, Bill took me to work on skiing the bumps. I’ve always been more of a bump survivor than a bump skier. I have, until now, always had to stop every five or six turns to regroup on bump runs. I tend to accelerate in the icy channels between the bumps, and then as I pick up speed, I lose my ability to turn the ski fast enough, and then I go straight over the top of one. This technique almost always results in a painful fall. To avoid this, I skid to a stop, regroup, and start over.
But today Bill helped me bring everything he’s been teaching me together, and without going into the details, I was able to stand up and ski one turn per bump all the way down the run. The key was a little side slip at the bottom of each turn to bleed off some excess speed, and the rotation on the tops of the bumps to initiate the turns while the tips and tails of my skis were off the snow. This way I could stay on a narrow fall line and keep my speed in check. Bumps are now a completely different experience!
I had to resign the other day from a volunteer position that was really stressing me out. I was putting in a lot of work and felt like I was in a sort of struggle with other people involved all the time. Stephanie shared something about “ten signs that you have boundary issues” and as I listened, I realized they were describing exactly how I felt. For instance, I felt myself avoiding phone calls from other people involved, and I felt burned out. I talked to some friends about how I might resolve the situation, and they gave me good advice about how to talk to everyone and communicate so we can get along. But then I realized I did not even want to do that. I just wanted to be done with the whole thing. So I politely resigned. And crickets.
I wondered if my email had even left my outbox because I heard nothing for two days, until finally someone called me. Funny thing is, nobody was at all surprised. The basic response was “I don’t blame you.” And now I’m free.
Stephanie said it best back when I was first dealing with my vision loss. “Nothing Extra” was the mantra for a while. Well, now that I’m mostly better, I do enjoy putting out the extra effort every now and then. But the basic idea of being more discerning on how I spend my days and of the internal experience of living my life, I am making decisions that are making my life sing. It’s like the Warrior Spirit dancing through life. Hiwaaa to the energy vampires.
Schmarya Space Shalom
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