Skiing under a new moon

I've been nordic skiing again. After setting this activity to the side for most of the winter, I've been sneaking up to the trails at Eldora on an almost daily basis. Classic skiing is the call, and likely will be until the end of the season, for a couple reasons. First, classic skiing transfers over better to hiking and skinning that will be big activities, well, for the rest of my life. And I have to admit, I just like classic skiing better. A good classic skier can go just as fast as a skate skier on hilly terrain (although not on the flats) which is prevalent at Eldora. I don't know, I guess if there is a nice crisp morning after a warm day, skate skiing could be a good hoot, as you can motor on days like these. But anyway, the point is, it feels good to be skiing. I'm thinking about doing a full racing slate next winter in nordic, as this year was pretty much a wash. I think I need something to train for, to focus on a little bit. I used to have Montezuma's Revenge, but that thing went away, and the truth of the matter is there has not been an "event" that has come along since it that has captured my imagination.

Last night was a good one. Had a kind of busy day, so didn't actually get out till 8:15 pm. Going late, after the patrol has vacated the premises, has many advantages, not the least of which is that the area suddenly becomes quite canine friendly. The 15th was the new moon, the darkest night, and yet through the darkness the stars shined bright. Interesting – not a bad analogy for life. We winded around Buckeye Basin as the pine trees hovered to the side, engulfing the land into a cocoon of my headlamp. There is something primordial about skiing in the woods at the night. It's…ancient.

Conditions were typical for an evening following a warm day. Glazed tracks where the sun had baked them and then refrozen, soft where it had not. The downhills were brisk, but with the Asnes Turski – straight out of the Viking-land, Norway – and their nice metal edges it was no trouble. My downhill skills are a little rusty after so much time off, and there were more than a few, one-ski, Bode Miller-esque recoveries, but alas I was able to keep the P-tex side down. Dinked around Buckeye for awhile, skiing quite hard for the first 30 minutes, but my fitness is not so great right now, and after that I slowed. Back to the main area, and then up the winding trail to the land of Twisted Trees, and then back down to the figure-8.

Had a cool moment here, something I have not felt in awhile. Perhaps it was the focus of the night, but there is this thing I sometimes feel that I'm sure may sound a little weird, but I'll explain it nonetheless. If I let myself go, I can actually feel a certain energy emerging from the ground, from the trees, and even from the sky above. It courses through me, and I can get a lot of strength from it. I used to feel this all the time when training for Montezuma's, but the crazed events of last summer sort of put up a…block. I think you have to be in a certain state of mind to feel this, and it came flowing in droves last night. I like the feeling. There is a certain truth to it, and I've always felt very protected by mother earth when I'm in this mode. It's really one of my favorite places to be.

As we came to the intersection I stopped to re-apply violet wax, and noticed two headlamps working their way up from Zarlengo's. Always nice to see a couple other crazies. We chatted for awhile in hushed tones, about how skiing at night "protects" the trails for people in the day, and how you half expect an elf to come bounding out of the woods at any moment. It was a good talk – appropriately mellow yet bonding – under the raging belt of Orion.

The truth of the matter is, I need an adventure. Something big, something to push the limits a bit. A walkabout if you will. And perhaps…just perhaps…this will happen.

I will go east and go west,
From whence came
The moon and the sun.
The moon and the sun will go
And the young man,
With his reputation behind him.
I will go wherever he came from
The young man with his reputation behind him.

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