Saturday, January 22, 2011

January blahs, warm weather, and skiing

We are in the middle of the January blahs. I don’t mind the encroaching darkness in December... it is magical. The world is lit by candles, everything feels cozy, and of course it’s one party after another. But come January, it’s back to work, it is still dark and cold, and the skies turn cloudy so the little light there is filtered into grayness. We find ourselves longing for green, for sun, for calming breezes across grassy fields.

Instead, we have rain. Yes, it’s been very warm the past two weeks. By very warm, I mean a bit above freezing. The snow is washing away, the roads are clearing revealing old layers of gravel spread during icier days. Mornings are a challenge – the wetness freezes into a frictionless coating overnight, and we must watch our steps, staying on the sharp gravel.

Yesterday I slipped carrying skis up from the garage. I came down on my shoulder and inflamed an old circus injury. Many years ago practicing trapeze I tore a shoulder muscle, and now the wound is back, announcing itself with a large red swollen bump. I am useless for skiing today, so here I sit in the ski lodge while my children take their first ski course of the season out in the rain.

They’ve moved the starting location for the kids’ ski courses this year. The email describing where to meet is cryptic, describing places that are known to everyone who grew up in the area but difficult for an outsider to find. They just don't list these place names on online maps. Finally I unearth a trail map tucked away in a corner of the internet and glean a general idea of where to go, but we park in the wrong place anyway and have a long way up to the meeting place. Peter is exhausted by the time we join his skiboard group.

They will be wet today. Skiing in the rain. Last year temperatures were the lowest in recorded history, and now this winter is shaping up to be unusually warm. 2°C (36°F) all week, in January, almost inside the Arctic Circle.

I’ll stop typing now, it hurts to hold my arm in this position. I think I’ll make a sling when I get home.

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