Saturday, January 19, 2013

Coming To My Senses

There's no question that my weekly trip to Stevens Pass makes me feel more centered, calm and confident about my life. But it occurred to me yesterday that a day on the mountain puts me more in touch with my senses as well.

* * * * *


The runs at Stevens Pass are tucked in amongst stands of stately Douglas fir, and sometimes, when the trails wind through the forest, the scent of the trees is rich and delicious. Yesterday, the sunlight and calm air conspired to make this passageway a fragrant delight. I ran through this space three or four times in a row, just to enjoy the evergreen perfume.

* * * * *


One of my favorite sensations of a day at the pass is the feeling I get when I board the lift for my first run. After the long, arduous process of getting out my front door, driving 75 miles of steep mountainous terrain, and dragging my gear up from the parking lot, it is such a joy to finally make it to the chairlift. There's the soft, smooth, sweeping motion of the seat as I am swooped away from the boarding area; the sudden burst of energy when the cable pulls me up and away from the ground, bouncing me gently in the process; and the swift, silent power I feel as the lift sails me quickly and efficiently through the trees. 

* * * * *


As I make my way downhill, my ears are filled with only the sounds of my own progress. But when I'm in the chair, it's a different story. I can hear the shouts and calls of the riders below me, sometimes calling up to me, and on icy days, the scraping of their boards and skis on compacted snow. I hear the wind whistling through the trees, the murmurs of the swaying branches, and sometimes, the thumps of snow falling from the branches to the ground below. Best of all, I like to listen to the sound of the chair itself - the gentle hum of the cables turning through their gears, the thumpity bump of the chair mechanism as it passes through the machinery at each post, and best of all, the singing sound that some chairs make as the wind whistles through their frames. 

* * * * *


This drinking fountain has the crispest, iciest, freshest, most delicious water to be found anywhere on this planet. It is a magical elixir and I drink it often and deeply.

* * * * *


I can't find words to express the visual glory of Stevens Pass. Nestled in the Cascade Mountains to the northeast of Seattle, in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, the natural elements of this winter playground are in their glory. Trees, rocks, clouds, sky and sun come together in ways that are constantly changing yet consistently beautiful.  My words don't do it justice; my photos give you just a clue. Seeing this beautiful land with your own eyes is the only way to take in the full impact of this scenery.

* * * * *

And this thought rang through my mind many times yesterday. I've been having some problems with my vision lately, and I'm scheduled for eye surgery next month. It's a safe, simple, routine procedure, and I expect to come through it with much better eyesight than I have going into it.

Still, I've found myself wondering what my life would be like if I lost my sight. What if I couldn't see to ski? Hmm. At first, that thought was so disturbing to me that I could hardly stand to hold it in my head. Too upsetting to even contemplate.

But yesterday, as I swooshed up and down the hills, soaking up the fun with all my senses, a calming thought entered my mind. I would still ski. I've seen blind skiers out on the mountain before, and if they can do it, then so could I. One way or another, I'd find a way to keep on experiencing the smells, touches, sounds and tastes of Stevens Pass that I love so much.

And while it would be a great tragedy to never again see the grandeur of the mountain, I have been blessed with enough wonderful days at Stevens Pass to have memories for a lifetime.

* * * * *

Wanna read about all the twists and turns of my ill-fated 2012-2013 ski season? Check these out:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment...I'd love to hear from you!