It's almost eight o'clock... we plan to be out of here in a little over two hours--it's Ski Day!
Today should be sunshine and blue skies, and still-soft snow from the recent 20 inch storm. The children's hills will be groomed and ready for racing play.
A shower for their mama, and a quick trip to the grocer's for the still-treasured cup of noodles.
Coats, snow pants, ski boots, gloves, thermals warm and dry for everyone?
Ski passes secured in left-side pockets?
I was standing at my usual post yesterday, at the bottom of the lift, waiting for the babes to come down.
What an outrageously beautiful day it had been.
The sky was a spectacular winter blue... the kind that against the brown and white glitter just makes you want to stare and stare in wonder.
All these ten-thousand-plus foot mountains had me surprised that I was nicely warm in my long-sleeved cotton t-shirt with a very thin cotton hoodie over it.
I couldn't see my breath, no matter how I puffed.
I passed the day being dazzled by the thousands of frosty diamonds I saw everywhere, and walking up the hill to see what the children and their dad were up to.
The children are already improved skiers, this fourth day out of the year.
They're going down in braked control.
They also go down at full speed when they want to... only breaking at the end when it becomes apparent that they probably should.
"Maddie wants to go on Moonbeam," Eric said the last time we were up here, a few days ago.
Moonbeam is the next lift, leveling up.
"Is she ready?" I asked. Thinking of how part of the reason we didn't go skiing last year -or push it a bit more- was that Trev had a song he sang often about Moonbeam traumatizing him.
This day, Eric said "Trev wants to go on Moonbeam."
Now, there's something.
"Yeah," from Trevy. "That mountain can't get the best of me!"
There are so many ways that these ski days of ours are indicative of our lives. So many things for me to shake my head over. So many times I'm surprised, and think "Well whadaya know?"
Not that I am surprised that the children want a better challenge, or to advance their skill level. That's a part of life, if things are interesting enough.
But the way my son gets through things often surprises me.
I'm a peace-loving creature who sees the universe as supportive and encouraging... Trev will often -mostly- make his way through it in sheer determination and tenacity.
I'm never quite sure if it's a child's lack of wisdom that rules his thinking and actions, or just a personality that is so completely -unfathomably, often- different from my own.
One thing I do know is that it is almost comical that people assume because we are not sitting at a desk being told what to learn or do, that we are not learning the important lessons of Life, and how to successfully make our way through it.
As if we, each of us, don't face opposition of some sort, or different situations every day of our lives.
As if we are not encountering and engaging with people - real, living, breathing, moving, conversing people - whilst we are out there, asking questions at the aviary, playing with friends, or chit-chatting briefly with the lifties.
As if we are not learning through our doings, beings and relationships that Life Takes Practice.
So there I stood; it was colder, now. The sun had gone over the mountain at least an hour ago.
Trevy and his dad were riding the ski lift up, for the last couple runs of the day.
They've been wonderfully enjoyable, these afternoons in the snow. I'm glad of them for many reasons--sunshine, and being in the woods among them.
A lady comes nearer, "Where do you guys live?"
"We're here, in Salt Lake." Guess I should ask her. "Where are you from?"
"Oh, right now, Kentucky. But Colorado and Alaska, before this."
"No," she smiled.
"Do you know what time the lift closes?"
"Oh, okay. Know what time they open in the morning?"
"I don't.... we always come at around 11 or 12. I think at eight, though."
"Do you know how busy it will be this weekend?"
"I don't... we don't come on the weekends." Then added, for some reason, "We stay away from everywhere on weekends!"
"Ah. D'you homeschool?"
Just like that.
"I thought about homeschooling, for a while...." she said, as she looked off in the distance, "Their dad is a pilot, and it just seemed so much easier...."
It made me smile that it was so readily on her mind as a possibility. That people make room in their minds and their lives for more possibilities, more freedom to live their lives as they see fit.
Whether they choose it or not, the notion is not some seldom-heard-of-thing that only religious zealots or cult people do..... it's just families living off of the educational system's grid... doing it the way they want... loving and exploring the world and its resources.
For the many, many home educators I know, the choice isn't about controlling the children or the environment, but rather quite the opposite, to my thinking; they and we are choosing to play and explore grandly in the big wide world.
We venture out, seeking as well as accepting what life has to offer us.
and at the end of the day, we say it's a fine way of doing things--joyful even, mostly,
and are thankful that life is just so, so good.