Thursday, December 31, 2015


        When I was younger and looking ahead to the future, the year 2000 seemed so far away. It does once again, though now in retrospect. When I foxhunted with the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club there was an "elderly" 69 year-old lady who kept up with the younger folk, galloping and jumping. I decided back then that I wanted to be like her. Other older adults whom I cared for as a nurse, who didn't exercise, who didn't seem to care for themselves, perplexed me.

       In the last few years I have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and--far off from 69--I am unable to foxhunt anymore. Cantering a horse can be painful, much less galloping and jumping, and so  along with golf and skiing, hunting is added to the "I used to..." list. It's really easy to become self-absorbed and sad about it. When the feeling hits hard I watch Go-Pro videos of others' foxhunts. But one great thing about having children is that we truly can live vicariously through them.

       I am doing that right now as I write, warm and dry in a small ski lodge. Snow Creek must be the tiniest ski resort anywhere with three runs and a vertical drop of, like, 300 feet. But we're talking the Kansas/Missouri border! So it is a wonderland, a paradise for kids and mid-westerners who haven't the time nor means to travel farther. I might have once joked that more time is spent riding the lifts, with only about 30 seconds to ski down to the bottom of the longest slope, but how misplaced that humor would have been. I'm looking up now as people schuss and pizza and jump and wipe-out and laugh. There is challenge and there is joy on this hill. 

       I just met a beautiful couple in their seventies and eighties. There was a twinge of sadness: I had wanted to be like them. But the feeling was quickly replaced when I saw their joy in life. It made me joyful, too. They let me take their photo.

       As the morning goes on I've watched Stephania (who is visiting again from Columbia!), Gus, and two of my friend's girls take lessons and hit the slopes. 

       The tentative, jerky first forays have transitioned into more courageous, smooth runs. And wipe-outs. Gus is snowboarding for the first time. He just came back from the longest run at the slopes. While brushing snow off his helmet and from inside his coat, he told me with a huge smile about how he fell, rolled and landed back on his feet to continue down the hill. I remember well. And I've let loose the feelings of yearning to be right there with them. Watching is good. Listening to their first-hand accounts is exciting.

       Bruce likes to say, "Enough is a feast." It is enough to watch, to remember, to take part even through the window, in their fun and excitement. And so, today I participate in a feast...of abandon and the joy of living vicariously.

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