Sunday, 27 January 2013

Ski Lifts, Bucket Lists and Life

When I was a little girl, I remember climbing up the gate at our house to sit on the stone column next to it and wait. Wait for my sister to leave for and then come back from school. Wait for the car to take me to school later on. Wait for my dad to come home from work. There was so much eagerness in that waiting--the excitement of something coming.

Yesterday I climbed the pile of snow plowed up by my house. The last few years I confess I tunneled into these piles with pots and pans and so of course, I had to make sure no other person tunneled in yet this year. But no such thing, so up I climbed. It was like my own personal little mountain in my front yard, a wonderful hawk-eyed view of the streets, the passersby. Not so high as my magic carpet, but wonderful in the way of the tree fort, the hide-out. 

And again, I waited. Waited for some friends to come through so we could caravaan off to the ski slopes together. Tennis I wanted to play since I was a very little child. Skiing, though, I've wanted to try since I first left the Caribbean and got over the shock of the cold and winters. And though I spent so much time around skiiers, I was never granted that opportunity. These past few years, I've thought about it, watched it come around nearly in my reach, and then either slip away again or else I myself have chosen to grab some other opportunity. 

But yesterday--yesterday was my day for skiing at long last. Yesterday, in this marvelously surprising unforseen way, I got to go skiing and it was just so delightful. Learning this foreign feeling, this way of thinking with the muscles of my body, of hearing them in my head and focusing on their directions. The conquering the never-ending fear of heights to move up the mountain, shaking in the seat as I try not to look down, as I remember all the other things I have conquered in my life and how this is the least of them all. To glide down this slope of pure white, so intent on harmony and balance and the beauty of your surroundings and having only a sensory awareness of others on the slope passing nearby at varying speeds. The hilltops across the valley smiling back at me and the cold kissing my nose. It was wonderful. 

And it is the waiting for wonderful things like that, the eager climbing up a snow plow pile and watching for adventure, for opportunity, for pure beauty--I want to do that with this whole year, with the rest of my life which sometimes feels like too many lifetimes to me. I want to climb to this hill of new persepective, of bubbling childish excitement, stamp a spot and plant my feet solidly and wait, eagerly; expectantly. Wait and reach out and embrace all the wonderful new experiences that lie around, hidden from my sight til just that perfect moment. 

Today I ran away from home a while to start reading the next book on my school-list. Sometimes you just need to work from a clean slate, a new environment where everything isn't chatting away at you familiarly and intrusively all at once. I ran away to a coffeeshop where lots of strangers pass through; strangers whose lives seem oddly comforting and vaguely interesting, and it is not intrusive to tune in to their chatter. 

One huddle of women around the firepit near me, wealth sparkling off their particular clothes, their large rings and fancy materials and all; they were talking about their vacations, where they wanted to go next, when they were done this skiing holiday of theirs. Belize, the Caribbean, somewhere really exotic. 

From there, their conversation turned to bucket lists, to checking things off (one apparently is getting quite near to finishing her original list). And it got me thinking about my own list of things I want to do. Not much, really. I don't often sit around and think up adventures, or set life-goals or throw stones at the future in hopes that when I arrive there, I'll find the stone and recognise the significance of that place. But I do have a few things on my list, casual little ideas like flying a plane, walking across a country, seeing the northern lights, looking at the moon from antarctica. Higher education and telling stories that have little truths in them, stories that can resonante with something in all of us who claim common humanity. 

I know I don't value my life enough. I spend copious amounts of time imagining for myself beautiful deaths, epic ways to leave this life behind because I get weary of waiting for the unexpected, or weary of letting ago of another piece of life that I loved dearly. Dearly. And because there is some part of me that finds an aspect of death alluring--Peter Pan saying "to die will be an awfully great adventure," perhaps. But I am grateful for the luxury of dreaming, grateful for the wealth of opportunities that I can choose to take hold of now and, hopefully, over the course of my lifetime. I'm glad that my life is one that can afford even the idea of a bucket list, of langously floating through life coming up with new adventures to turn my rotor towards. I'm delighted that I got to ski yesterday, and that I might go again sometime. I'm eager, in spite of the worse parts of myself, for the adventures of the lifetimes I have yet to live before me. And I am grateful for my life and its many measures of wholeness.  

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