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By the time you read this it will be 2006. Christmas, New Year’s, and other holidays will be over and we’ll all be settling down to face whatever Old Man Winter has in store. If today’s rain, sleet, and snow are indicators, it won’t be a time for dancing and singing.
Unless of course, you are among those happy people who love skiing, skating, snow boarding, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. If you’re not, maybe it would be a good idea to take up one or two of the aforementioned.
I know if I had two good legs I would be going out on cross country skis, or my beloved Ojibwa snowshoes. There was a time when snow was a source of great fun and pleasure.
Snowshoeing is something more people in Maine should do. It’s a wonderful way to go out and enjoy the silent and beautiful woods in winter. I remember how many happy hours we spent going along old tote roads.
When I was a gym teacher in SAD 25, I discovered that not one of the students in the seven schools, in which I taught, had ever been on snowshoes. As a matter of fact, only kids with shoes that had once belonged to grandfather, hanging in a barn, had ever been close to a pair. I had some of the students bring them to school and I introduced them to the lost art of walking, and even running, through deep snow on foot, rather than on skis, boards, or mechanized sleds.
So many winter sports involve large outages of money. Skiing certainly does. Not only is the equipment expensive, the fees involved for using the trails can be exorbitant. Skating is a bit more reasonable, but there are surprisingly few rinks.
When we first moved east from California, it was our kid’s first encounter with snow. We were fairly far from ski country. I can’t remember any great enthusiasm for winter activities. We did create an ice skating rink in the back yard. Skating on any surface was a new thing since the kids had been born and raised in an area where there were absolutely no sidewalks and the roads were too mountainous for safe street roller skating.
The move to Maine meant a new snow experience for all but my husband who had lived in Alaska for seven years after graduating from the University of California. He wasn’t a skier, but an ardent and proficient snowshoer. In Maine he developed a love of cross country skiing. He became very good at it, but I’m afraid I was not. I used to fall down going up a grade, as well as down. The kids all took up snowshoeing and skiing, but never snowmobiling. We’ve always been people who preferred human power and wind power when in boats.
One of my sons loves snowboarding. He and his son went to Utah a few winters ago and had a marvelous time. It looks like fun, although I can’t imagine tearing down the side of a mountain while balancing on a small board, without poles.
Skateboarding was a big thing in California when we lived there. I can remember seeing kids flying down the San Francisco hills, at break neck speed, managing to turn the corner at the hill bottom just before plunging out into traffic. I used to cringe.
Skateboards were not in use when my husband was a boy, growing up in the equally steep hills of Berkeley, California. However, roller skates were regular equipment for every kid. He used to talk about skating to and from school, using a hockey stick between his legs as a brake. It was quite a feat to drive a car on those hills in the San Francisco Bay Area, much less move along on roller skates or skate boards.
When I looked out my window this afternoon, it was snowing, but the previous rains had washed away the snow right outside my window leaving the lawn a deep and lovely green. All across the country there seems to be perilous rain and/or heavy snow and ice. We’re pretty lucky here in central Maine, even though there are far too many dark days.
My friend in France has been calling on the phone fairly frequently lately and the weather there is just as crazy as here. He’s trying to arrange a meeting in Paris next week with Adele’s daughter, Katie, who will be visiting Paris, Rome, and Venice during the two weeks of school break. That’s one great way to fight the January blahs.
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