On the Mountaintop

Did I need my pep talk? Yes, I did. I had a mountain of laundry to climb today, probably due to having never caught up last week. And I scaled it, all the way to the top. Well, it isn’t folded yet, but that is downhill work. I did get to the summit and planted my victory flag.

When I went downstairs to start the boys on school, I had to fight the impulse to turn tail and run from the chaos in the basement. Their school stations are inside the door where all winter activity comes and goes. Booted, mittened, snow-panted, muffled, coated, hatted activity flows through that area, and they were sure that they put their stuff on the register to dry, but there it was, muddled on the floor in the worst melee ever. There is no way one could do math in that atmosphere, so we spent a good half hour cleaning up and sorting out. I was exasperated, and I didn’t scale that challenge so well.

Then. Time for school. And I find that the boys had done the last DVD lesson that we had. Apparently the company only sends 2/3 of the lessons at the beginning of the school term, then doesn’t send the last 50 lessons until they receive the first 1/3 back. As the teacher, I should have known this, but I completely forgot. So today I taught the lessons, and I remembered how much I really like to teach. I also realized again that it is quite the dance, looking after tots and teaching. And doing laundry.

Gabe was putting in a ski patrol shift and called to say the snow was fine. Patrollers get paid with passes. Did I want to bring the three oldest children and join him? I had known that he might call, so I had lined up a babysitter for the little girls just in case. I made them eat lunch fast, left all the washing and dishes and leftover school lessons, stuffed everybody into extra layers-hats-gloves-pants-coats-mufflers-boots, sent the little girls to the neighbors, and hauled the crew up the mountain.

I really like adventure. Oh, the thrills I experience at a used book sale! I like finding painted turtles on nature walks and I like wading in shallow creeks. An adrenaline junkie I am not. Today I decided that I am still just like the little girl who used to climb up the hay bales in the barn for a long, thrilling swing ride on a rope hung high on the beams of the hayloft. I would stand there, daring myself to let go, then when the other children got too impatient to wait, I would just get off and let them take turns. After a while I couldn’t stand them having so much fun and would fling caution to the wind and after that I wouldn’t give up my place in the line.

I feel that way about skiing. I stand at the top of the slope, mildly terrified. But there is only one way down, and that is to push off and try. The first run is the worst, trying to get the feel of this thing that I only do once a year. There is a great deal more flailing than finesse for a while, but then I start to feel like I can handle these skis and make them go where I want them to go. Slowly, I have very careful fun. I only fell three times on that first run down.

There was hardly anyone on the slopes for the first two hours. Gabe put Olivia on a tether and showed her the moves. She zipped off like nobody’s business, and I was grateful she was tethered! I was always the last in the line. Then the school busses came and emptied their loads of cocky young snowboarders onto the mountain. I know exactly what they think of the cautious lady V plowing down the steep spots as they flash past in a kaleidoscope of colors. Boarders tend to run in herds so that they can show their stuff to everybody on the jumps and more technical places. And they swoosh past with terrible swiftness. All I can think is, “If their mothers would see them! And where are their helmets? And who goes up to the top of a mountain in 20* weather in only a hoodie?” I wonder if they can guess what I think?


That is the slope that I am happy to stay on. I have nothing to prove more than staying upright and having fun. The sun went down and the mountain got blitzing cold. Livvy and I took two runs down the easiest slope without the tether. As we were creaking slowly up on the lift, suspended 40 feet in the air with the mountain chuffing and puffing frigid blasts at us, we decided that we had enough.

We left the guys up there, still going strong, and came home for hot drinks and baths. Apparently the water heater isn’t working. So we are really down in the valley again. But at least there is heat even if the views aren’t so grand.

2 thoughts on “On the Mountaintop

  1. I like this picture. 🙂 I enjoy skiing and can relate to your feelings of ‘the only thing for it is to push off and try’. The last few seasons I haven’t had too much of a chance due to varying stages of motherhood. Glad you got a chance to get out.

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