I’m not especially athletic, so any thought of attempting anything resembling a sport always makes me break out into a sweat. And yet, I always go into a new activity with the dangerous assumption that learning it will only take, at most, ten minutes. That deep down inside, I’m a prodigy that will blow away the competition with a display of physical prowess that will make all the ladies nearby swoon.
Instead, I always find out that learning any sport requires a certain amount of willful stubbornness, the willingness to withstand painful falls and an unflappability in the face of perpetual humiliation.
I’m bringing all of this up because I went snowboarding a few days ago and I still emit a girlish shriek if I happen to sit on my tail bone. There was one point during my snowboarding career where I managed to fall down no less than five times in a five minute period. At that point, I was a few seconds from snapping my ‘board in half and running into the lodge in a fit of petulant rage.
Instead, I went back up the hill again with “Eye of the Tiger” running through my head. I got off the ski lift, bound and determined to get down the hill in one go. Instead, I continued to leave a series of splat-shaped holes in the snow. Riding up the lift, one could see the clawing marks I made in an attempt to keep myself from sliding down the slope after each of m spectacular falls.
And then, for whatever reason, I got it. There was no fanfare, no epiphany. I just…stopped falling so much. And then I was making it down the run at a brisk pace without falling at all. And I was enjoying myself! It had gone from a painful exercise in pain to being fun, so much so that I want to go back again.
And maybe next time I’ll try that toe-side thing that people keep mentioning.
Way back in December, I can remember worrying that it wasn’t snowing enough. Emily hadn’t really seen snow and aside from a few flurries, Boston wasn’t delivering.
So there was actually a time when I wished for the snow, if only so Emily could experience it.
And on December 26th, it came. Beautiful, clean snow covered everything, so deep it came up to our knees and waist.
But, seriously Boston, you can knock it off now. There are snowbanks that have been around since that Boxing Day storm. There are icicles hanging past my window that stretch from one story to the next. I don’t even remember what the world looks like with color.
Last week, there was sunshine on the horizon and the temperature crept past freezing. Water ran, for the first time in ages, and we could hear the sounds of ice sliding from roofs, freeing icelocked homes. Dripping water and signs of color showing through; our long snowed-in winter looked to be ending.
But it was a false comfort, a hope that did not deliver. This morning I woke up and the snow is falling thicker and faster than it has in a while, shades of that first storm that came after Christmas day.
We don’t know if the snow will end. Or if Spring will ever come. We don’t know if we will ever see the sun again.
All we know is that the world is made of snow.
Photo by Emily Wachtel
My feelings about snow has always varied depending on where I’m living.
In North Carolina, snow was a magical force for good. If it snowed, even a little bit, you could count on all the schools in the area shutting down indefinitely. There would be panic in the streets if everyone wasn’t too terrified to go outside. This one time, school was cancelled for a whole month.
It was beautiful until the cabin fever set in.
But then I saw the dark side of snow when I moved to New York. New York was willfully stubborn when it came to snow. The city refuses to acknowledge the snow even exists. I once stood in a snowbank for almost two hours waiting for the bus to take me to school. Then another two hours getting to school. I got there around the time they started serving lunch.
Boston seems to have a similar attitude to the snow. It’s not just a refusal to shut down. It’s an adamant denial that the snow is even there. “Hoho! It’s just a smidgen of powder,” they say as their tires churn through a foot of snow. “Not as bad as ’78!” they say as they dig in the snowbanks for their lost children. “Today looks like a nice day to buy a book,” they say as the temperature drops to levels man was not meant to endure.
Point is, Bostonians are crazy and I don’t wanna work today.