I sit here at 5:38 am. At 5:38 am on December 6, the world is dark out. I lie under my blanket, a thick Norwegian hand-me down given to me by my mother, covered tight to prevent the chill of the sub-zero night from permeating too deep inside. The caboose I live in has zero insulation, so despite the fact that there was a roaring fire at midnight, at this moment – pre-dawn – the room is icy cold. Sweatshirts are mandatory fare, as are long pajama pants and socks. This is the life I have chosen.
I can't sleep. Need some sort of music. I'm bored with everything I have. I tune into Pandora – Sigur Ros channel. Dreamy music that lets the listener escape reality, like one of those moments when the snow falls and the sun glistens through it, shimmering like angels dancing on the moon.
I'm scared. I won't lie. I'm conflicted. Sure, I can portray an image of strength, of forward thinking but I'm not sure you can go through everything I have faced the past five months and not be scared. It haunts you. A life turned upside down, with no chance for discussion or defense, only accusation. I'm over that part of it. Somewhat. It was the expected path, and while I'm not thrilled with the results and the hardship, I'm not afraid of the future. Well, not really at least. I suppose…I don't know really.
I sink into depths sometimes. More than you might expect. Today was a rough day. For no particular reason either. You miss people, you miss…elements…and you realize that things will never ever be the same. But do you regret it? Well, that's a tough one. You regret the pain caused, both to self and others, but to go back to that world – you know that would never work either.
DONE. It's time to move on. For there is beauty. I have, for better or for worse, chosen the path less traveled. I read the blogs, I see my old life, my friends writing for VeloNews, running bike shops, having kids, and I think to myself…that could have been me. But instead, I have chosen the life of a nomad. My week will be spent searching through the hills for the perfect powder turn, while at the same time trying to scrape by an existence through writing, photography, being a barista and cleaning out horse troughs and building fences on a cold winter day. Until spring and summer. Just holding out till then, to do what I was meant to do. To roam the hills.
I have chosen to stay here. To stay in my hometown. To not run. Some things need to be faced head-on. Some pain you can't make go away – it needs to be dealt with and you can only run for so long. I'm a nomad by nature, but this is one challenge I need to face. This is, as my friend Dave said, one of those moments where we get to redefine our lives. We're only handed one or two of these in our existence, and this is clearly one for me.
I stand behind my principles. I believe in the power of love and believe in friendship (and more than ever, family). I think…maybe I don't know.
I do know this. It's snowing outside. Not a lot, not nearly what I had hoped for, but it's something. A fresh blanket. I think I will ski tomorrow. In fact, I know I will. And I will take an old friend. Maybe more than one. An introduction to a new world, a reminder of an old one. Hmmm…maybe that's where I am. At a crossroads between old and new. A side of me holding onto the past, because there was wonder there. And then another side, ready to attack the future.
I went for a ski last night. My first nordic ski at the area that I used to – and will one day again – rule. I am good at this activity. One of the best I will say, and not in an arrogant way. I should be after all – I've done it for a long time. And even now, with the absence, I flow. Fly up and down the hills. Balance is a little bit off for sure, but these are minor details that 20 – 50 km of skiing will cure. When I am on a pair of skis, in the woods, on the top of a mountain, I am at my best. There are moments where I am a godlike – not the god – but above the mundane. These are the moments I seek, the moments I live for. They are the thunder crashing on the side of the hill, the rain pelting my skin, the storm that tries to beat me down. I stand strong.
In the meantime, I adapt. I figure out alternatives. Don't go to the grocery store during peak hours. Don't ski the area on the weekend. Pick your time, pick your place. As the Ranger from the West did in Lord of the Rings – hide out until the climate is more friendly. Not stop – just be wiser in your approach.
I need to write more. I need to write every single day. And I will, or at least I will say I will and then I will not. But I do promise to live, even if the hardship of life rips at me. Because, as I have found, there is light in all darkness. Disappear temporarily, but not forever and get really, really fucking strong, to the point where I can survive it all, and reach a new level of…YES.