Sunday, February 24, 2008

Midnight Ski Mission

On the way back from NJ today I had the notion it would be fun to go XC skiing tonight after the kids went to bed. We had just had a large snowfall yesterday, it was a nearly full moon, and temps in the high 20's - so I figured it would be beautiful.

I called around to see if I could scare up a partner for the mission. I text-messaged Justin. He loved the idea. But he was in Vail. I called Tom. Had a date with the wife. I called Kevin. He was all game! But he was in Florida for the weekend. I called Mike Kelley. Home sick. I called Vinny Franze. No XC skis.

So I resigned myself to going solo, threw my gear into the van and headed over to the North Salem open space. It was a bit crunchy and cold at the start but I warmed in a few mins and suddenly found my groove. I was gliding along at a nice comfortable pace, up and down gentle hills. Along rock walls and through to the next field. In and out of the shade of the moonlight.

At the very far end of the park, at the corner of a field, I stopped. The straight borders of the field, lined by trees and rock walls receded from my field of vision to the left and right. I looked up at the moon, rising majestically across the field diagonally from me, framed by stars above and trees below.

As my breathing and heartbeat quieted I became more aware of the sound of the night. A gentle wind thru the branches. The faint buzz of a far off airplane or auto. The bark of a dog. The crack of wood somewhere deep in a tree bend. The crunch of snow as I shifted my weight.

I stared at the moon and the snow-covered field, sparkling in its blue light. The distant hilltops and gentle glow of homes in the distance.

It was heaven.

I thought about the universe and loved ones gone before me.

I shivered and thought about my family, warm in bed.

And then I turned and started for home...

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