Tuesday, January 17, 2006

When we get our Ideal, what do we do?

I'm a newbie skier, I admit it. I mean I do pretty well on the mountain but I've only been skiing about six years. I live in the Northwest which means that powder days are almost non-existent.

So today, for the first time, only the second time I've seen actual powder, we had what everyone can say was a powder day at Meadows. Nothing was groomed. I used the knowledge that you don't weight your toes so much on your skis when it's powder and skied from the backseat quite a lot and had to do several runs where the snow was flattened out to get a decent forward stance back! It hurt my legs too. I could feel the difference when I hit places that were flattened out and I could ski "normally."

Going up the lift, I mentioned my worries to several seasoned looking skiers, with their fat skis and obvious understanding of the powder conditions.

"Powder is hard," one said.

"Skiing powder is a lot of work," said another.

"It's not easy like groomed runs. Everyone talks about powder but you can tell those who are really good at it and those who aren't. It's not all it's cracked up to be."

So here I am, floating in the ski lift over pristine powder conditions, the snow falling lightly around us. I could have asked for sun rather than clouds, but other than that, today was undoubtedly a near perfect ski day. Conditions that I could only imagine would be ideal for all "real" skiers who knew what they were doing. I hoped to soon understand the thrill of conditions like this for myself.
Suddenly instead of raving about powder as they do in the magazines and apres ski, I am told that it's hard and it's a lot of work and it sounded like everyone would be just as happy with a sunny day on good groomers.

Everyone has ideals and their sort of ideal life. I wonder how many of us, confronted with that presumed ideal, would act the way the skiers I met acted? When confronted with our ideal, do we talk about the wonders and why it's perfect or do we only see the downside of how much work it actually is?

Monday, January 16, 2006

A thought For Today

A thought for today is from Pema Chodron.

Don't Expect Applause

Chodron's commentary includes:

Don't count on receiving credit for you good deeds. Just do them anyway.

I think we should all do good deeds with this thought in mind.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Making a Difference

Sometimes we think that one person can't make a difference. Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. One person. Making a difference.

From his "I have a dream" speech.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"