February, 2001

Skiing With Friends

February 18th, 2001 February 18th, 2001
Posted in Fire and Light
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I’ve been thinking about my skiing trip and wondering if there’s anything about skiing that compares with the experience of getting to know someone. I’m talking about when two strangers get to know each other, one male and one female, and neither of them wants to take it too fast and both want to know they can turn or put the brakes on whenever they want.

This year I’m at the stage where I can ski a few blue runs at my intermediate novice stage. That’s two up from the nursery slopes so I’m not a complete beginner any more. Someone in the group above me said something about not being a passenger on the skis and how you have to control them, ride them.

Life and love and friendship can be like that too, although I always enjoy that freefall feeling of being a passenger – letting the emotions just take me and whoever I’m with, the same way you can let the slope and the skis just take you. The danger is, until you get in the ‘group above’ there’s no control over the speed; it all just happens and if you’re not careful you can hit a tree or go over the emotional edge.

I try never to ski out of control but sometimes it’s real fun to feel the wind on your face as you learn to shift your weight to turn. If you go down the same run a few times, you can get to know whereabouts you can go fast because there’s a flat bit ahead that’s going to help you ease off. If it gets really steep, there’s always the option of walking down.

Can that relate to relationships? To a friendship you don’t want going so fast that you loose sight of each other and/or it becomes more frightening than enjoyable? There are definitely routes we’ve all been down before and we know where we can safely become a passenger to our emotions. There are also unique bumps and curves (and how pleasing they are!) with every individual and those can take time to discover and learn about.

Once again, I have no answers and I’m just thinking aloud. I’m a blue level skier and I feel a bit like a blue level friend, especially where no one’s totally running the show; feelings just run high and low and you don’t know where until those months or years of knowledge and trust are built up. Where the snow is nice and it’s a good gradient, it’s the best thing ever. When it gets unexpectedly icy or there’s a blizzard you weren’t expecting, or even when the light goes flat, only experience can make a real difference.

An internet buddy of mine, Palmer, posted “Things I’ve learned to plagiarize” on a discussion board elsewhere and they are all so excellent. Two of them in particular seem kind of appropriate so I want to write them again, here:

I’ve learned that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I’ve learned that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

Oh, yes. Simply, yes.