Ron tells me not to look down at my skis. Feel the mountain under my skis, he says. Feel the slope, he says. Feel the pressure of my ski edge cutting into the snow as I swoosh (my technical term, not his) down the mountain. He stops at the top of the run to point out the endless acres of evergreens that roll out like a carpet unfurled at Crystal’s feet. He reminds me again on the way down the mountain.
“Look around,” he yells as I zip past him, chin to chest. “Check out the scenery!”
I glance up. Pretty, yes. Then—yikes—whoops—flailing, flailing!—I almost lose my balance. Almost. But not quite. Believe it or not, I regain my balance and swoosh on.
What I feel at that moment of “almost but not quite” is not necessarily the mountain or the slope or the pressure of my ski edge cutting into the snow, but a miracle. I feel a miracle in my snow boots. A slightly cold miracle with a somewhat snug fit, but a miracle nonetheless. So I practice this looking-forward, looking-around business as best I can on my next few downward swooshes.
And then Ron, ever the therapist, asks me a question he already knows the answer to: “Do you want to look cool?”
Of course I do. Who doesn’t want to look cool as they ski?
He nods. “Then you have to put your arms down. You’re holding them at 90 degrees in front of you.”
I don’t really see the problem with this, and I sort of resent having to be concerned with my arms when, really, my legs are only just starting to get under control. I squint at him, skeptical of his assessment.
You look, he says in all seriousness, like a chipmunk. He raises his arm like a chipmunk eating a nut.
I gasp. And then focus very, very, very hard on keeping my arms relaxed.