The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Ignorant and optimistic,
I venture forth

Rachael Conlin Levy


Sometimes the most relevant information can be found in the comics, but I had left too early to read the day’s newspaper.

Heeding, instead, the advice to get thee into nature, I took children and self up a snowcapped mountain. There we rented skis and boots, loaded ourselves onto chairlifts and rode up the mountain’s side. With a flutter in my stomach and heart in my throat, for it had been more than a decade since I’d last strapped on skis, I pointed my feet downhill and prayed.

I navigated the mountain with slow, sinuous curves that brought me safely to the mountain’s base. Up I went, again, and at the bottom met success for a second time. So I did it once more. This is how you build skill, I told my teen-ager who was yearning for steeper slopes. As I collected a handful of good runs, stomach settled and heart steadied.


Boys who dream of shredding the slopes. Snoqualamie Mountain peeks out of the clouds. Photo by Marcel Levy.

But I’d forgotten that repetition makes the impossible possible, and prayer will not prevent a middle-aged woman’s wipeout. Skis crossed. Knees buckled. Legs twisted. Arms splayed. Body launched. Head smacked. Chest crunched. And I spat snow while ignoring the hollers and shouts from husband and youngest son, who had spotted me from the chairlift.

During lunch, my body complained with stiffening neck and tender rib. I skipped the afternoon chairlift, opting instead for a seat inside the lodge near a heater and a window with a view of the slope. There I watched the action from a safe distance having, once again, relearned my limits by exceeding them.


For Better or For Worse’s Lynn Johnston knew something I did not:
“I don’t ski because I know what I’m missing. It involves crutches.”


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