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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ski Seaons 2012-13 Begins

The Mission Mountains from Lavelle Chairlift.
Alex and his new stache.
The snow waited to come this year: at Thanksgiving the mountains were still pretty barren, but then the snow arrived in early December, and pretty quickly conditions at Snowbowl and elsewhere in Montana were good.

We've been out quite a few days already, mostly at Snowbowl, but with one trip to Lost Trail. The skiing at the Bowl has been great for early season, but it's been rocky, and over the course of the past few weeks, my skis have made the transition to 'rock skis' due to the myriad early season hits they've taken. Lost Trail, on the other hand, is already deeply buried in white. Jen and I had a great powder day there before the kids got out of school for their Christmas holiday.

Alex has been getting out tons with his buddies this year, which is cool. He's not doing the freestyle ski team, but Ellie is. She seems to be loving it and her new powder skis, which have biased her toward only wanting to ski powder runs. It's amazing the effect equipment has.
Ellie's outfit is pretty dialed in this year.
Early season is always a trial for me on the physical front. My left knee gives me trouble, and I've never been one to moderate well -- I'm just an all or nothing kind of guy. As I write I'm on a self imposed couple of days (at least) rest after two days that have left my knee sore. Anyway, I hope the knee comes around. It did last year, once I made the switch to alpine and got back to work again so that multiple days per week was no longer possible.

There are a couple of ways to look at the body aging and not being able to hold up to what you'd like to do with it: despair and acceptance. It's clear which path is the healthy one. You've got to adjust. Life is a teacher. The body is a teacher. I'm a reluctant student.

On Jan 1, I'm off to New Zealand for work and two weeks off of my skis, which will probably actually be good. Hopefully I'm blessed with some good conditions at St. Clair beach, where I'll be staying with my surfboard in tow. It's summer down there. Amazing how the tilt of our planet and 7,000 feet of elevation take one from summer on the beach in NZ to the winter wonderland in the below picture taken at Snowbowl a couple of weeks ago. Given such a delicate balance, how could anyone imagine that climate change wouldn't be a fact of life on earth.
Winter wonderland early December.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wound Too Tight

Balance is a difficult thing to achieve. Your life pulls at you from many directions, each of which requires a different kind and/or amount of energy. This would be great if what was easiest or most natural was also most important, but in fact you can't gauge the importance of a responsibility by how easily you take to it.

For example, I feel that I'm well suited to my work. It demands a lot from me, but for the most part I know how to apply my energy and see a result that I'm happy with. On the other hand, in some more complicated and important areas of my life, I'm often unsure where to put my energy and find that pushing is frequently the wrong approach.

And yet pushing is what I do well. It works with my job, and so more opportunity and responsibility come, which means I'm busier. Pretty soon I'm wound too tight and find myself trying to fit a square peg in a round hole in other areas of my life.

My father's gift as a parent (and human being) was that he knew how to back away, to live and let live. Paradoxically, this way of not-pushing and withdrawing energy is actually harder for me than taking action. It brings to mind the Tao Te Ching which I've quoted here before and should return to:

The highest good is like water.
Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.
It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.
In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
In speech, be true.
In ruling, be just.
In business, be competent.
In action, watch the timing.
No fight: No blame.