Friday, March 12, 2010

One Ski, Friday, March 12, 2010

One Ski

One Ski, illo by me, view it larger here.

I am with my father and my brothers staying at a ski lodge. I am feeling tired and low energy. As we leave to walk to the slopes to ski, I feel too tired to carry all my gear, so I take one ski. My plan is to leave it at the base of the slop and go back for the other ski and poles. The ski I am carrying is long, shiny and blue.

As we walk toward the slopes, my father suggests we walk up for the first run, rather than taking the lift. I don't understand the value of doing this, but don't argue. Other people have been doing the same thing, punching their toes into the hard-packed snow along the side of the trail, so there is almost a stairway there. We start up. My father, one of my brothers and I walk slowly up the side of the very steep trail. One of my brothers is walking up the center of the trail (and is way ahead of me). I think that is a bad idea, because he might get hit by skiers coming down (though none seem to be at the moment) and also might damage the slope with his ski boots. I call, "Tom, come walk up the side," but it is not Tom, it is Bob. He is a young teen, still small, and skis gracefully and competently down to my side and starts up again on the side.

I suddenly realize that since we are climbing the side of the very steep trail, that it is the expert trail, and I don't want to make my first run on the expert trail, since I am not feeling well. Then I realize I can't ski down with one ski; I need to go back to the lodge where we are staying and get the rest of my gear. I will have to climb back down the slope and should do so before I climb any higher.

I go back to the lodge to get the rest of my gear, but there are a series of complicated problems that prevent me from getting what I need.


I have HALF the gear I need to ski, 2 boots and one ski (3). I missing one ski and two poles (3). What is difficult to do that I am now trying to do with half the gear and not enough energy? Live? Love? Paint? Write? Heal? Keep house (clean)?

The hassles at the end (which I now remember only as hassles and obstacles, but in the dream were fully detailed and complex), are very much like all the things that happen in my everyday life that keep me from accomplishing my goals. Family commitments and obligations, required phone calls, doctor visits, driving Graham around on a variety of wild goose chases, complex messages from Ellen Bowen that I have to waste time deciphering, etc.

The skis in the dream are the skis I had as a teenager. And my brothers are teens and my father still vigorous and eager. But at that age, I wasn't tired (normally, unless I was sick) and would never have attempted to climb a slope with one ski—that's more like things that happen now. At the moment, I can't think of anything that happened then that resembled that, but it was a long time ago. Ski trips were something the four of us did together. My Mom stayed home at "Margaretto's Lodge" and kept the home fires burning and had a hot meal ready for us when we returned.

I was sad to leave my father's skis in his basement when we sold the house. L But I had no use for them, other than sentimental. I left all his books behind, too, including ones inscribed to him by his mother, my grandmother. L And I left all my aunt's books in her basement. She wanted me to take them and love them, but I didn't. I was too overwhelmed at the time to even take one.

Did something happen when I was 14 or 15 that's affecting me now?

There was a period of time when I had ski dreams regularly. One of my repeating dreams was of trying to ski when there wasn't enough snow. Moving from patch of snow to patch of snow. I realize this dream is different, but there's a resonance—I am trying to do something without enough of what I need to do it and with many obstacles. (Why skiing?) I'm just not sure what it is and how it relates to my family of origin.

And: why walk when we could take the lift? Later in his life, my father would not have suggested that. But we did do it, at his suggestion, in the early days, for some reason that I no longer recall. (It's not that I'm against walking for the sake of walking, but when skiing, why not take the lift?)

In what way(s) in my current life am I not taking a lift that I could be taking? How am I attempting to ski on just one ski when two are available? How (or why) am I taking just one ski along when it would be more appropriate to carry 2 and be prepared? In what ways am I unprepared for what I am attempting to do?

I don't know, but if I did, it might make an interesting poem because I love the metaphor of climbing a steep, expert ski slope with only one ski. (Am I failing as a poet because I cannot unravel this metaphor?)

A factor in all these things could be time. This is because I try to do more than is humanly possible in a multifaceted life. I am not carrying enough arrows of time in my quiver of goals to accomplish them all in the face of the complexity of the obstacle course I have to run. (I am mourning my inability to finish new work for the current green show that I wanted to enter and my probable inability to submit an air poem to the contest I wanted to enter and all the novels I want to complete and send out.) I may need to wrestle my ADHD and my ultra enthusiasm and drive to accomplish to the ground and pick one or two projects I really want to accomplish and do those and put everything else on the back burner. I also need to do a better job of balancing LONG-TERM goals with short-term goals. I tend to concentrate on one to the exclusion of the other.

BALANCE—that's what I need! You need two skis to be properly BALANCED! But I need a dynamic and changing balance to suit the variety of projects and interests and needs, family and personal.

Or, maybe I just need to relax a little and not be quite so upset when I fail to achieve all my (sometimes unreasonable) goals.

I would like to have a better system for prioritizing. Sometimes I waste time on petty or small goals or even distractions (ADHD!) and mess up on big important goals because of it.

OR, I could, as some people have done, learn to ski down the expert slope on a single ski. (But unfortunately, that seems unlikely). (I'd have to lose weight to do that—and don't get me started on that as a metaphor or I'll never get my tasks done!)

Maybe I need to learn to Snowboard. Yeah, add that to my to-do. Snowboarding is a bit like skiing on one ski. Friday, March 12, 2010