Monday, February 23, 2009


Just reaching the second half of the winter and I already have skied more this year than in all of the last twenty years combined. Today was the ninth in a row with a few more still to go.

Easily, I could be described as a delusional aging man in desperate search of some piece of youth, a lifeline of comfort against thoughts of impending seniority. Bones too brittle to safely slide down mountains, still I bounce through bumps as if my body could outlast time.

I have my redster, a car better suited to high school practices. My fingers caress guitars and voice fills the night as if I had no child to get to classes in the morning. In the spring, I will kick a soccer ball in serious play with buddies. Throwing caution a pittance of attention, I behave as if nothing maters but the truth of my convictions, and precious time is both infinite and running out.

I begin to write as if my life depends on it.

In the best of circumstances, we find the perfect balance between our passions and the ability to support ourselves, bettering the world (we hope) one breath at a time. Doing what we love provides the income we need and attracts the love that nourishes our relationships.

As we all know too well, this perfect combination of career and marriage does not always happen, and we fall into compromises. As cheerfully as we can, we make adjustments sometimes tiny, sometimes radical to find the balance that allows us to thrive.

The wonderful thing about a ski town is the boundless excitement everyone holds in common, particularly evident when fresh snow is as plentiful as we have this week. No matter race, politics, economics, or the force of one’s belief in a higher power, we are gathered here to enjoy the white stuff, fresh air, and the aches our bodies suffer to be able to make fresh turns.

We are one, united in common purpose. Rarely are we witness to impatience, selfishness, or greed. Sharing is abundant, politeness is bountiful, and companionship amongst strangers evident and heartfelt.

Given the uncertainty of my finances, the precariousness of family health, the frustration of a failed marriage, it is no wonder that this lifestyle might be so well embraced. What fool would not seek the open arms of such friendship?

The statistics by which we commonly measure ourselves can sometimes be askew from the balance in our hearts, just as much as the activities in a single week (or in this case: 11 days) may not always reflect accurately who we are in our lifetime.

There are those who visit the mountain for a vacation from their regular lives and there are some whose love of sliding on snow is strong enough to hold them here every day with varying degrees of economic success and compromise. Still others find the balance to be here every weekend as part-time employee, volunteer, or guest to pay their way onto the snow and down the slopes of joyful play between weeks of life as it is more regularly defined.

Immersed so deeply during this holiday period, it has been easy to lose myself into the lifestyle entirely. The long commute requires maintenance, more resumes should be submitted, friends lie in the hospital, pets need to be fed, but the weary ache of satisfied ecstasy at the end of the day overpowers other needs. Written words remain muddled in my mind, the guitars lie unplayed in their cases, fingers too tired. I eat what is handy and wear clothes from the dwindling pile of clean.

Bills go unpaid, their urgency muffled by the bliss, nearly buried under the ever deepening soft snow. I know there is little practicality to the dollars earned comparative to the time spent on the mountain, but the benefits of instructing make it not expensive either.

So I live this week reveling in the pleasure, cherishing time with my son, rationing my energy to be strong enough for the next day. The demands of life all too loudly knock to be long ignored. The compromises will have to be made. In this year of transition, my hope is that I have massaged my heart and exercised all muscles to make them more in tune with my authentic self.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s 18 inches of new snow overnight and I’ve got tracks to make.

Please share with your friends


Erin said...

Kip...was catching up on your blog last night on our drive home from a fantastic week in VT and can not believe the week you have had - was shocked to read what happened to you on the mountain Monday (after you made someone's day running into her on the slopes)! We are sitting here now listening to "Cache" and just wanted to say... Congrats, you guys sound great! Keep up the beautiful work with your writing and your music...your positive outlook is truly inspiring!!! Loved seeing the "Redster" in person too, hope it behaves for you in all the fresh snow! And Sabrina is asking you to PLEASE get a HELMET! Erin

Laurie said...

I remember reading somewhere to take the plank from your own eye so you can see to remove the plank from your neighbor's eye. Give yourself the freedom to enjoy taking care of yourself Kip, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When you do that, you have more to give to others. So don't think that because you are refueling on the slopes, you are suppose to feel guilty. You are figuring yourself out as you freely slide down that mountain. You are searching your heart and soul and that fuels your writing and refreshes you. It also gives you and your son the opportunity to develop a stronger relationship.