Life in a Northern Town

An Afternoon On Skis

Tripping over Joy
Hafiz

 

What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.

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Tripping over joy (and my skis) was a pretty good description of our afternoon at Mt Ashwabay. Ted and I rented cross-country skis and took off for parts unknown on Saturday. Actually, I knew exactly where I wanted to go but had forgotten a) how far it was and b) how many hills were involved in getting there and back. There was a stump on Black Bear Cutoff near a particularly primal part of the forest I wanted to visit. I met it three years ago (on my first too long and too many hills cross-country ski adventure with the kids) and I've never forgotten it. A picture of that beautifully decorated stump with its snowy cap would remind me of an afternoon spent with snowflakes drifting down through the trees on our little ski caravan. Little did I know this trip with Ted would burn about 8,000 calories, require serious foot/hand coordination and provide us precious time to talk, laugh and marvel at the beauty surrounding us.

I'm pretty new to the whole cross-country skiing scene and going down hills proved to be problematic. Flying down a hill, in tracks with skis on, is not a good idea for me so I spent a lot of time taking off my skis, walking down the hill and then putting my skis back on. As I've mentioned before, I have less than stellar eye/hand/foot coordination and putting the skis back on was no small feat, thank God we weren't in the Birkie. Ted, on the other hand, is a fan of flying down the hills and spent a lot of time waiting for me. Luckily, he always had a smile on his face and some kind words of encouragement when I caught up with him. In between all the hills and ski removal activities, it was pure joy to ski together. Isn't it funny how joy is so much more accessible when you're not planning any one of 'a thousand serious moves' and just experience what's always around and within you?