Sunday, February 2, 2014

Playing in the Snow

When I was 7, I had my first (remembered) solo experience of sled riding down the street where I lived.  I watched others first, navigating the teasing boys at the bottom of the hill who formed a line across the road.  At 7, I did not understand that they would get out of the way of my sled.  Apparently neither did my compatriots, as each flew down the side of the street until just before the parked car, jerking hard left at the last minute to sweep between car and boys and onward.

Confident I understood the process, I jumped on my sled and down I went.  I have never had that level of confidence again.  As I careened towards the car, I froze, head up, as the car and I rapidly drew in to our own date with destiny.  Head smacked bumper.  The rest, including my unease around playing in the snow, is history.

Flash forward.  I am 58.  Younger friends decide we should go tubing.  I cheerfully agree.  It was only later, alone, that I started to get nervous: I’m 58 years old!  What was I thinking?  I can’t do this!  I’ll break my fool neck!  And so it went.

I consulted with son Ben (my go-to person on all things physical), who calmly reassured me how safe tubing is, walking me through what it would be like step by step (everyone should have a son so patient with a fearful mom).

So I layered up and on we went.  The journey was, of course, the adventure.

Just a few miles shy of our destination, our driver Melissa politely pulled to the side of the road to allow faster drivers to pass, as I was internally screaming noooo!  We were in West Virginia now and there aren’t shoulders on the road to speak of in West Virginia, even when it looks like there are (as when deep ditches are covered with snow).  We promptly sank – gently, ever so gently, in to the snow-covered crevasse and there we sat until rescued, which was in pretty short order, as Snow Shoe has employees and equipment for just such an occasion as this (shout out to our rescuers - thanks, guys!).*

On to lunch and then the great tubing adventure.  What a hoot!  There were injuries** (aren’t there always?), but we did all survive the experience with lots of laughter and the simple joy of being outside (it was a warm winter’s day after a long January of sub-zero temperatures where we live, so this was our first time outside in a long time – glorious!)

For a brief moment, I saw the folks learning to ski on the bunny slope beside the tube lanes and thought to myself, I could do that.  Ah, confidence.

It passed as quickly as it came as I hobbled home, but now I know some things I didn’t know when I was 7:

1. The boys will get out of the way.

2. I could do that.

3. Snow and sun are a heady combination.

4. Laughter and play are great medicine.

5. One bad experience need not a lifetime of fear make.

But most of all, I was reminded that God’s tender caring looks like a son talking his mother down . . . like
Erin, Deb, Melissa & me (fashion-forward
in Ben's hat and many layers
strangers stopping to help . . . like car rescue guys competent to the task . . . like friends laughing helplessly as they roll in the snow. . . like expanding possibilities . . . like grace.

*When you get discouraged about the state of our kindness or lack towards each other, I want you to know that virtually every car passing by slowed down to see if they could help.  The one noteworthy exception entertained us mightily as they sped by, bumper stickers hailing their political persuasion and beliefs, leaving us in their wake, confirmed in our mutual preconception that such folk aren’t nearly as kind as they say they are on t.v. and leaving me to have to internally apologize to neighbors from the north (I thought the license plate was from Pennsylvania or New York: turns out it’s a specialty plate from Virginia).


1. I was first – fitting as the eldest, I suppose.  It didn’t occur to me (remember, I actually had to call my child to talk me through this) that the bottom of the tube was resting on the actual ground and that resting my bottom on its bottom meant I was sliding butt first down a snowy pathway that just might have bumps and rocks.  And it did.  Thus am I one very sore puppy today.

2. Erin was next – it was our very last run – and somehow she came to a dead stop at the bottom of the run and was ejected from her tube, hitting her head.  Nothing serious, but boy, did it hurt.

3. Melissa was the last to go down.  Heading out the parking lot, we were almost home free, when she stepped onto a sheet of ice and went down hard, landing flat on her back, the kind of hard, scary fall that makes you worry about broken bones and concussions and such.  Good fortune that nothing was broken and home safely we went.

Deb was the only one of us to escape the day without injury, but all of us are aching today.

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