When what I wanted for Christmas, I said a ski trip the day before my birthday–something I’ve wanted to do for years. Yesterday, my son and his fiancée took my daughter and I cross-country skiing, and it was glorious. I’d pulled my old skis and poles out of the shed and found my boots, then ransacked the drawers for warm clothing (it turns out that wool sweater from the ’80s is too small). They brought over lattes and breakfast sandwiches, and then we drove up to the summit.
The day was warm–above freezing–and not raining. The snow flocked the trees and mounded up over the edge of the trail. (In Seattle, we often get no lowland snow.) The lake was partly frozen. When we got past all the bustle at the sledding hill and play area (various stages of funny-looking snow people), and onto the groomed trail, I fit my skis into the track and got into a rhythm. It felt good–sore, tiring, but really good.
Find your groove
Looking at the tracks, I thought about writing–about staying on track with writing. Sure, when we think about creativity, we think about going outside the lines (the same way I needed to go outside to get out of the way of the trail grooming machine or to pass tiny little kids helped by their parents–so cute!). But in terms of practice, in terms of showing up and getting into a rhythm. It’s good for me to find a groove and stay in it, or get back as soon as I can. And in writing, it’s often much less like a groomed trail and more like the back country, where I need to make my own tracks.
A little break is beneficial
I was skiing with athletes, and I grew tired fairly quickly. But after a quick water break, I felt renewed, gliding between the trees. That reminded me of how important is in writing to take a break–to see new things, do new things, give my mind a chance to hit upon that perfect answer that I wouldn’t be able to see straight-on. A little break, deep breaths, and back on track with the poem, the story, the essay.
Later, family dinner prepared by Tom, who stayed home and cooked all day–crab cake on salad greens, then chicken parmesan and homemade pasta–and the cake and homemade ice cream that my daughter made. All in all, a great way to begin this next year.
In gratitude for snow, for family and family dinners, and life’s helpful reminders…