I haven’t posted much lately because I’ve been exceedingly busy. However, busy need not mean stressed out or overwhelmed. Today was an example.
At 2:45 PM Tuesday afternoon I got to Mallett school to pick up my sons Ryan and Dana (third grade and Kindergarten) to head to the local mountain, Mt. Titcomb. Dana’s doing a program put on by the University called “Snow Cats,” teaching kids grades K through 3 to ski. Ryan skied on his own with his friend Avery.
We had to wait for Avery to arrive by bus (he’s in 4th grade, at the school up the road), and with the snow falling we had a slow drive to the mountain. Once there it was a bit chaotic. Get the kids stuff together, make sure we have everything, lug it all to the lodge, stash the skis and poles outside, and then get equipment on. The lodge was buzzing with activity and kids clomped around in their ski boots and got dressed. I first got Dana to his group lesson, made sure Ryan and his friend were all set, then I got my equipment from the car so I could ski.
I enjoyed two runs, only to have Ryan and Avery tell me they were hungry and wanted to go in and get a snack. So I went in, helped them get situated, and then went back out to ski. “Dad, I need six dollars, and Avery only has $5 and needs one, can you loan him a dollar?” They were in line and I opened my billfold and handed out the money. The guy behind the counter laughed, “that’s a good way to get popular.” Ryan beamed, “I’ve got the best dad.” I smiled, and convinced the boys were set, went out to ski.
It was marvelous. I especially enjoyed going up the slow T-bar. Light snow was falling, but that phrase doesn’t do it justice. The snow was a pure white, glistening in the lights designed to illuminate the trails. It was twilight, lending a beautiful bluish aura to the trees, snow and lights. Alongside that were the sounds of kids having fun, talking, laughing, sometimes screaming…perfect. Pine trees covered in snow, a layer on the trails, the views…how can it get any better than this?
I would see Dana with his group, just turned six but master of the mountain. Ryan and his friend Avery would go over jumps or trails through the woods. I’d ski down, enjoying the mix of speed, control and beauty all around.
The light puffy snow kept falling the whole time, a fairy tale like atmosphere. No wind, reasonably warm temperatures (mid 20’s), an absolutely perfect evening. Part of the atmosphere was the sense of community that defines Titcomb. It might be going up the lift with Pete who was there with his family, or Clarissa who was there with hers, or with a stranger carrying a huge drill bit, joking he was a dentist (He had a walkie talkie and was apparently heading to repair something). There were hellos and quick exchanges with other parents, and then a quick financial transaction with Niki to support the PTA fundraising effort (among other things I’m chair of our PTA fundraising committee). She caught me taking equipment back to the car at the end and in the falling snow wrote a check in the parking lot before we went to coral our respective kids. Farmington, skiing together.
At 6:00 it was over. Chaos again, get the kids together, lug equipment to the car almost falling in the icy parking lot, dealing with rambunctious kids full of energy despite over two hours of skiing. Then after leaving I had to turn around and go back because in the haste I’d left my helmet in the lodge. It was there, the cleaners pointed it out to me. In the car the talk turned to video games, Pokemon trades, and the like. The mood was happy though, the kids had fun.
Those four hours from 3:00 PM to almost 7:00 PM were perfect. Not that nothing went wrong…sometimes the T-bar stopped because a young kid fell off, my toes were a bit cold at times, and lugging equipment can be a pain. It was perfect because it was such a joyful experience. The pure beauty of the evening, the snow, the woods, the mountain, the people.
As I was going up the T-bar on one run I thought to myself, “there is nowhere I’d rather be right now, and this moment is as good as it can get” – even though objectively I was simply being hauled up the mountain by a t-bar. “This makes life worth living,” I was thinking cruising down the mountain, even though it was just one of many runs. I can’t explain the emotion, it comes from all the ingredients together – community, beauty, movement, friends and family. They permeated every aspect of the evening, even granting magic to a boring t-bar ride.
Sometimes life is just absolutely wonderful.