I have to start this one with a story from a long time ago. But maybe you were there? Leave a comment if you were.
Some time around 1970, my family went to Greenville, Maine for a ski vacation. Each of us kids got to bring a friend and we did the downhill ski thing, as did my dad. My mom, however, signed up for a cross-country ski lesson, which was a radical and brave thing for her, since she was not athletic or active in any way that I can remember.
At her first lesson, she told the instructor “I hear that you are going to teach us how to get up when we fall”. A friend had told her this, and it had given her great comfort and security in this adventure. “Sure,” he said, “When you fall, I’ll teach you how to get up.” “But I want to learn now”, my mother insisted. “We’ll get to that when you fall”, he repeated. Shlomp! Down she went! “OK” she said. “Teach me now”. And he did.
Fast forward to this day in 2011:
I went cross-country skiing with my sister, Lava, on my new fast skis. Fast. Really fast! I went down a Black Diamond hill that was not fast at all the last time we did it in starting-to-melt slow snow. But on this day, it was 12 degrees and the snow was fast and my skis are fast. All fast. I hit something – it may be the half-foot divot we looked back at (or maybe I made that one) or maybe it was something else, but I landed directly on my face. It hurt! I put my poles uphill and got myself up and kept skiing on this cold sunny day.
A while later, I did it again! I landed on my face again! It didn’t hurt as much, and I got up more easily.
The next times I fell (my new skis are fast, I tell you!) were farther apart, and each fall was easier and each time I popped up more quickly.
Like my mom, I learned how to fall, and I learned how to get up. Now I just need to learn how to ski a little better!
Bonus lesson: I learned how apt the term “face plant” is!
Here is the bottom part of the first hill. Yes, it looks like a bunny slope, and it would be on downhill skis, but on fast cold snow, it was a challenge on cross-country skis!