Monday, 20 August 2007

Prairie girl vs Ski Bunny

With much contemplation, I am beginning to realize just how unsuited I am to life in mountainous areas. Firstly, my experiences so far with walking in the mountains/hills. Walking uphill for extended periods of time invariably leaves me short of breath to the point of feeling nauseous. This, I realize, is an entirely surmountable problem in that if I were to undertake exercise on a more frequent basis there would be no problem. The other side of this walking issue is that of going downhill, which would appear to be a simple process... until you attempt to walk down a steep embankment, which results in slamming your toes against the end of your shoes, quick short steps with frequent stumbling, and a high potential for skipping a step and ending up traveling in a much more painful manner, that does not involve your feet, the rest of the way downhill. Secondly, I must refer back to my many wonderful years on the prairies, the land stretching out as far as the eye can see in every direction, and full glorious sunsets beyond the best artist’s ability to reproduce. When in the mountains, the sunsets and sunrises are blocked from view by these enormous mounds of dirt and rocks (snow tipped in most cases), leaving you with very little to see but these sections of land that tilt up towards the sky linking the white of their tips in a firm handhold with the intense blue sky.
This handhold of mountain and sky has a way of making a person feel hemmed in, like the rest of the world has been shut out, and naught but this limited view remains.

And my final (current) reason why I am not suited to these areas is skiing. I would not normally consider myself to have a fear of heights... true, I do have a healthy respect for them, but in general I revel in looking down from a great height. It’s being at the top of a snow-covered mountain, staring down at the slick snow-covered slope, knowing how hard it is to walk normally down something like this, and also knowing I have two planks of wood strapped to my feet, and that these planks of wood are designed to increase the speed of my descent down this mountain. That and the fact that my control of these planks is minimal indeed, that’s what scares me. And yet, even so, with very little argument, I seem to end up at the top of a ski hill every few years. Maybe one day I’ll learn. (and I can’t say what I mean by that, either I’ll learn to avoid them or I’ll learn to enjoy them.)

i must say Heather has a very biased view of the mountains. usually i am quite content to let her write the blogs without interjecting too much of my own opinions. not this time...she sounds as if the mountains and they’re “lack of view” is a bad thing...excuse me?!?!?! i beg to differ. now i think i will be just as biased as her. mountains and prairies are two things that we have come to agree to disagree on. and i think i can have a broader opinion of both as i reminded her this morning i have lived in both!! what can i say about the mountains? as much as she feels out of place i feel right at home. its with great trepidation that when i’ve been traveling across great expanses of the nothingness that Heather so loves i get excited to see a blip in the land scape and then my excitement continues to grow as the blips turn into mountains and mountain ranges. these Southern Alps have been the first true mountains i’ve seen since leaving Canada, and they are a joy to be back in. i love the fact that they are the view...non of this vastness that stretches on for miles in all directions. mountains make me wonder if i was brave or strong enough to get over or through them what i would find. there is an air of mysterious around mountains, an unknown of what is on the other side. we drove to Milford Sound, and the road is barely more than a paved track at times through some of the steepest mountains i have seen in my life. the road comes into a bowl between 3 mountains and there are no more valleys. and yet the road continues this time under one of these massive hills.
this tunnel known as the Homer Tunnel is 1200 meters long, and it took 30 years to build. why? i don't know but the view on the other side of the mountain is magnificent.
and then there is skiing. oh the joys of hurtling down a slick snow slope seeing how fast you can go without falling or who you will be able to beat to the bottom, or what type of snow you’ll be able to find on one of many chutes and spaces between rocks and cliffs!!! Heather did quite well skiing, more than i think she gives herself credit for. true she had one doozy of a fall and banged her head twice. not to worry Joanne, i did a mini mental (ie a brain check) and she passed with flying colours!!! i enjoyed my day on the slopes, and Heather's been learning all about edges, bindings, shapes of skis and snow types ever since...apparently there's an art to it! Dad you’d be proud!

1 comment:

Michael & Esther said...

Ok, so I know you're in Europe, because I got a postcard from Germany, but no one else knows where you are! We'd all like to see some new updates! (thanks for the postcard, btw!)