Years ago when I was first teaching, I started skiing. It was a novel, exhilarating experience for me, especially since I am a person who is not athletically-inclined. I recall the warmth of the sun beating down, the freshness of winter air, and the sounds of swishing. There were also nighttime skiing memories: cool, crisp air, sweeping runs on beautiful white slopes, indigo skies lit by white lights on a mountain, and the taste of steamy hot chocolate before a drive home. I eagerly moved from bunny slopes to beginner-intermediate runs and started feeling proud of my accomplishments until one winter night that turned my life around. The words hit-and-run ski accident are still seared in my mind.
What ensued on that unimaginable night was a series of events that led me down a dreadful dark hole. A swish, a thud, cries of anguish, a sled ride down a mountain, and a horrifying ride to the nearest hospital in the back seat of a car still flood my mind. Within a split second after the fall, I learned that life is fragile and uncertain. In the aftermath of this horrible accident, I was delirious, experienced excruciating pain, and faced surgery alone in a town far away from family and friends.
My story unfolded like a thriller movie in slow mode. My lawyer friend found out months later that my nightmarish incident was caused by a careless 17-year-old ski patrolman who recklessly took a jump without a spotter at the other end. Surgery, months of recuperation and physical therapy, multiple doctors, all led to a change of heart and mood. I became more reflective and not interested in being in public nor dating until one day six months later when I decided to venture beyond these feelings. Knowing that I was leaving my teaching position in Albany for a teaching job in my hometown of Syracuse, I decided to meet my friend at one of our favorite restaurants. Limping in with one crutch, I joined my friend and her two friends from Long Island. My husband says seeing me carefully walking toward him changed his life. Later that weekend, he announced, ""You can get rid of the crutch, you have me to lean on." From my challenging situation as a skier, a new life direction took place. Within two years, I experienced a long-distance romance, engagement, marriage, and a permanent move to Long Island.
Why did this memory return today? Perhaps, it is the bright sunshine of a cold winter day pouring in and the photos of my 21 month-old grandbaby coming in from Wyoming where she is skiing with her parents. One day she shall hear my story and her Grandpa's account of the night he fell in love. When that happens she will be an experienced skier without fear.
-a slice of winter past-
Day 13 of 31 days of writing
March Slice of Life Story Challenge