Altitude Sickness

Getting outside again

Getting outside again

Before I get started, I just want to invite everyone down to the Earth Day Celebration from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, at the Rutland Winter Farmers Market, located at 251 West Street in Rutland. I will be there hanging out, digging the slow living thing, so come on down and say hi!

The last few days were kind of a bummer. Not an emotional bummer, but just the kind of bummer that involved a ton of effort and not much coming from it. A day with three hours in the car, followed by a day with five hours in the car, followed by a day with seven-and-a-half hours in the car, with exactly bupkus to show for it.

So today I got back from my marathon of uselessness (Woburn to Quincy to Bennington to Killington, including 45 minutes at a standstill on I-90 in Massachusetts behind an accident in the April surprise) to find five to six inches of blower powder on the ground.

I grabbed my headlight, put my spikes on my ski boots and my skis on my pack, and went for a hike on a closed trail. I was immediately reminded of my childhood, when you could predict snowstorms by how light the sky was . . . the trail was so light that my headlamp was unnecessary.

The beauty of the cloud-lit night was staggering, and the town lights below were gorgeous. As I hiked, enjoying the lightness of the powder and the feel of my legs working, my sweat building after such a sedentary day, I could feel all the B.S. from my day melting away: the anger, the frustration, the helplessness.

The best thing about getting outside is that it is a cure for feelings of powerlessness. The outdoors helps with a feeling of powerlessness by proving to you that you are, in fact, powerless. When you scream and throw rocks at the sky, lamenting, “I’m powerless!” the world around you barely shrugs and says “Meh. Who gives?”

After 10 minutes, I certainly didn’t care anymore.

As I climbed farther, the clouds broke open and the stars came out. It couldn’t have been written more beautifully.

I put on my skis and glided down. The parts of the trail that seemed like they would be excellent were in fact horrible, and the parts of the trail that seemed like they would be a disaster were actually pretty good. Six inches of blower powder on fast grass actually works pretty well.

Plus, the sparks coming off the edges of my skis made it easier to see where I was going. The skiing was terrible. But it was just what I needed!

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