First Words

Most people I know are glad to be rid of the snow and the winter weather, happy to watch their daffodils and crocuses push up through the soil into the spring sunshine. Me? I’m still hoping to squeeze a little more skiing in before Easter.

Nothing gives me more of an adrenalin rush than spring skiing – feeling the warm sun on your face and the corn snow under your skis as you sail down the hill. When we were teenagers, it was a tradition to ski in our shorts on Easter weekend. My mom always had a fit, worrying that if we fell that our legs would be shredded, but we did it anyway. It was the ultimate freedom.

When the downhill skiing ends, I take to my cross-country skis. Spring comes late deep in the forest; I often walk across bare fields and head into the bush until I find snow on the old logging roads shaded by the huge conifers. The occasional owl will swoop by, casting a shadow overhead and the crows are constantly making a racket, warning everything in the forest that a stranger is passing through.

There is a tipping point when the days become too warm, and my trails melt and finally turn to mush. I reluctantly hang up my skis and poles and put away my ski boots for next season.

In the closet my ski boots sit beside my rubber boots, signalling another spring transition – muddy walks along the Shelter Valley Creek to watch the rainbow trout spawn in its gravel seams, or maybe picking lime green fiddleheads along its banks. And then there are walks in the woods to see the dog-toothed violets emerging from under last fall’s leaves. One spring joy leads to another.