I was 8 years old when I became enthralled with my dad slicing through the snow. All my friends and family were more consumed with speed; I dreamed of cutting through the fresh powder with the grace and beauty of an angel.
I studied him for hours, pretending I had skis on and leaning left to right, knees bent. Imagining the wind whispering its secrets as I cut through the powder in my mind. I craved the freedom but also desperately needed it. I was determined to become the best.
My dad outfitted me and sent me off to conquer the bunny hill. I was quite disappointed that I was not allowed on the big hill until I defeated the dreaded bunny hill, which was for sissies, but if I wanted to ski, I had to do as Daddy said and not as he did.
Whatever. Up the hill I went. I looked down and told myself, "Beauty and grace, baby girl, beauty and grace."
Off I went with all the fierce determination and passion I had.
At first, I was a little out of control. It was much different with skis actually attached to my feet, and controlling them was so difficult. Almost falling, I caught myself and pressed on. By mid-hill, I was a natural, cutting through the fresh, virgin powder, and spraying it with each quick slice. It was more beautiful than I thought, the freedom, the whispering winds, and the shower of the snow.
I came to the bottom of the hill where Dad was waiting. He looked at me with that sparkle in his eye and said, "Looks like you're ready for the big hill."
Although I could handle skiing the big hill, I definitely had a problem with the poma lift, which was nothing more than a long pole with a bicycle seat attached at the bottom. I was warned to be very careful and to not sit down or snap the seat when getting off so as not to disable the whole lift.
Well, let me just say I was a disaster waiting to happen on the lift. I fell off that darn thing at least a dozen times before I actually made it to the top of the mountain. In my mind, if it had a seat on it, you sat down. OK, so I didn't have much grace or beauty on the lift, but I was nothing more than an angel coming down.
I hold onto these memories, and with every challenge that I face, I tell myself, "Beauty and grace, young lady. Beauty, grace and myself."