It snowed in the mountains. The ski slopes are opening.
Skiing makes me feel dumpy. Coming from the flatlands, it always looked like a rich man’s sport, which, I suppose it is when you have to fly far away to find an actual mountain. But in the flatlands, it’s an even more distant idea. Snow comes, and visions enter our mind of lithe bodies, painted in tight brand name (what is a skiing brand name?) ski fashion, blond hair (they’re always blond) streaming behind them as them flit side to side down fluffy white mountains.
And I, eating sausage and pierogies and sloshing through the slushy snow and mud aftermath in bulky layers and clunky rubber boots like a surly Russian peasant in spring marching out to milk the cow again. I don’t even make it to the lodge. Put me on that hillside and I’m inching down on my butt repeating the mantra “no health insurance, no health insurance, no health insurance”. Isn’t this how Sonny died?
I pretend I would hate to be one of those people with enough money, insurance, and hair dye to be one of those bodies, but this isn’t really the truth. I came from the flatlands where we are stoic, reliable, reserved, tame, if a little bit dumpy. We know the truth, and we know not to speak it. You don’t need the truth to go out and milk the cow. You just do it.
I bet that’s really where Nike got its motto from. Sure, they paint pictures of super human athletes blah blah blah, but I bet they really got their inspiration from the Midwest. Just go out and do what needs to be done. No protestations, no hesitation, and least of all, no truth. You swallow all that and just do it. It’s not lithe or sexy or brand name (unless that brand name is Nike), but it’s probably how we’ll survive the end of the world as we know it, and it’s definitely how I survive growing produce in the cold.
I can feel myself sinking. Settling in. As the farm work slows to a crawl in November and December, I, too, slow to a crawl. Winter is a tightrope walk. Seasonal rest, recovery, and reflection are important, but taken too far they can lead to an unhealthy moody sedentary life. I have to force myself not to give in to total lazy.
Ironically, winter requires the most discipline. You’d think it would be the height of the season, but then we just never stop. It’s easy to put one foot in front of the other and just keep going when the going has got to be done and deadlines loom everywhere. In the winter, though, deadlines are much more liquid.
After going so hard, it’s easy to tell myself I deserve and want restful idle time. And I do. But I have to find that delicate balance up here on the winter tightrope. I’ve got to reach deep to venture out to see friends, move my body, pursue other “side quests” outside the farm. These are what keep me happy and healthy and will deliver me in tact and ready when the farm demands escalate in the spring.
But it’s hard. My November self wants to live in a lazy moment and forget about spring. I can always worry about that tomorrow, next week, next month, ad infinitum. But time is stealthy. Spring will arrive hastily and full of demands as soon as I take my eyes off the calendar.