Thursday, March 1, 2012

An Altered Rhythm

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Me, my shadow, a pair of skis, and a wandering moose...

This morning I had fresh mango and toasted coconut in my oatmeal. I put on a dress (with tights and boots, mind you) and packed up for the day, ever aware that it is March: the month when spring begins. Imagine my disappointment to find several fresh inches of snow, frozen windshield wipers, and windows well iced over.

I suppose spring doesn't technically start for three more weeks.

Spring break, on the other hand, is nine days away. It's crunch time in the classroom: papers and projects due, tests to edge in before the quarter ends, grades to post, paperwork to file, and details to get in order. After all, fourth quarter is synonymous with track, the time where chaos abounds, even as I invite it. If my affairs aren't in order before the season starts, I certainly won't get to them until mid May.

Yesterday I went to finale of the latest season, cross country skiing. The local ski championships, a gathering of all the local junior high superstars, is an interesting preview of those that may become future national and international skiing professionals. At no other time have I been so aware of the grace and coordination present in young teens. They may be awkward in my classroom, but they have grown up on carefully waxed blades, wielding poles that propel them faster than I can run, tucking down hills and around corners, navigating undulations in the trail and the occasional fallen comrade.

Watching my students sprint for the finish, rhythmically poling on each stride with balance that most athletes would envy, I remembered how this came to be: very long winters. When you grow up on skis, and have a four and sometimes six month season to perfect your skills, you have an advantage over just about any other location in the country, sometimes the world. And in that moment, I didn't mind that the forecast called for single digits, once again. I appreciated the unique place that I live--even if it means a very white spring.

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