Sunday, June 28, 2009
Skiing at Fifty (not miles per hour)
I turned 34 Friday…for the seventeenth time.
So I decided to celebrate by accepting Rick’s invitation to go waterskiing. It wasn’t an easy decision, though, so I stalled by saying, “I have to ask my daughter first. I’ll call you right back.”
Why would I stall saying yes to do something I enjoy?
Fear. If you’re older and don’t do a sport regularly, maybe you can relate. Like golfing, bicycling, or sex, you hesitate because you’re just not sure you can do it anymore.
When I was young, there wouldn’t have been a second thought. I’d just do it. Except back then it was, “Hey, you wanna go night crawler pickin’?” Or “Let’s play hide-and-seek in the cemetery tonight!” Or “Whoa, slow down! I think that was a skunk. Let’s catch it and throw it on the dance floor at that disco bar! Yeah!”
Life was simpler back then.
Realizing the game I was playing with my mind, I called Rick back and said yes, please.
When we were on the water, I also accepted the invitation to be first to ski. I made a series of exaggerated noises: screamed at the cold water, giggled at the huge fish that was going to bite my foot off, grunted as I slid on the tight Jobe, and yelled, “Hit it!”
It was great, refreshing, invigorating, and followed by interesting compliments, like how much bigger my breasts looked when I covered them up with the ski vest. What little ego I have quickly dissipated.
As always, my friend Rick, a filmmaker, actor, voice talent, and fabulous skier included wonderful people: Bud, a very well-known professional piano player here in Colorado Springs; Steve, a young, retired filmmaker from our library district; and Ivy, my daughter.
Next up to ski was Steve, up on two right away! Then Bud, up on two, dropped one, and oh my God! This guy knows how to work a ski! Like a lot of the Wisconsin boys I grew up with, Bud spoke some German, drank PBR, and kept a firm build. But Bud is an exception: He still does all this stuff at 50-something!
Rick has always been a pro at skiing and sort of reminds me of Jesus walking on water. They’re both strong, trim, and dark, but Rick’s faster and much more handsome.
After we had all skied, except Ivy the No Sayer, we ate lunch near my favorite tree, as Rick dubbed it. The tree is the largest in a cluster of several dead, ashen ones rising from deep in the reservoir. As usual, a colony of about 20 double-crested black cormorants perched and squawked like old women at a coffee klatsch. I think of the big, dead tree as Cormorant Commune.
Enthralled, we inched the boat underneath the tree, but when two of us felt moist manna dropping from the sky, we opted to be less intimate with the birds and use our own mayonnaise.
Nearby, another slightly less populated colony sported one blue heron standing in its nest, the priestly knight amidst a Halloween gathering of Grim cormorant Reapers. We saw ospreys, a pelican, yellow-breasted chat (I think), and fish jumping out of the water.
Each of us enjoyed another dance on the water, more bold and reckless than our first rounds. A bunch of fearless old farts with youthful spirits!
Go ahead. Give me another birthday!
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