I am, always have been, a hopelessly early riser. Husband gets up at the crack of to go to work. Earlier this winter, when it was still pitch dark when he crawled out of bed, I went back to sleep, but now that daylight is leaking in, I’m getting up too.
My mornings are very leisurely. I sit here at the computer, writing, reading, catching up on the news, fooling around with my photos from the day before, seeing if I have any work. I wander back and forth between the computer and the kitchen. More coffee? Something to eat? I’m an Olympic quality dawdler, I can do this for hours if the sun isn’t shining.
Yesterday around noon, husband came back home. The day was spectacular and he’d been instructed to enjoy it. We recently had a foot of new snow, but yesterday the sky was blue, the sun was blazing, and there was no wind. To avoid the call of the meadows you had to be in a bunker somewhere.
The skiing gets no better than this. We skied about 20k, making a quick stop to slap some wax on the skis – the weather was so warm that the snow was getting sticky. I’m a little sunburned today even though I actually did remember to put on sunscreen before we left the house.
Everyone and their dog was out. We saw a blind skier with his guide and for a while, just to see what it felt like, I skied with my eyes closed. The blind man, obviously quite fit, left us behind when we stepped aside to give him right of way. I know that there are many programs that help disabled people participate in sports – I enjoyed having the chance to share the snow with this pair. The guide would describe the terrain to his partner, and his partner navigate accordingly. Tricky at the crossings, I’m sure, and you have to get out of and back in to the track every 5k or so. Once he was back in the track, they’d just cruise on ahead at a better than respectable pace. Husband tells me that some of the folks he works with have been ski guides for the blind and that they even do races.
After recharging at home, I headed over to Ukulele Wednesday. I’d decided that I was going to make poor Alex play something with a bunch of really hard chord changes in it so we sat on the couch learning Bb#m7 > E changes while playing “Dream A Little Dream.” Alex likes to play new music – of course, he’s 17 – and he usually has something printed up, but that stuff is so boring to play and he can absolutely manage that on his own. I make life difficult for him by showing up with something like “Young at Heart” or “The Summer Wind.” It works, it works, because the next time I see him, his changes are smoother and faster and his hands are just working better. He’s a sport, if I hand him something difficult, he hashes through it until he gets it.
Gerd and Tina, Alex’s parents are hugely social folks, In addition to their American exchange student, the charming Caroline, there’s always someone dropping in. Last night I met Rebecca, orignally from London, now living in Graz but with long term ties to our neighborhood. She sang with a song with us, which was fun because Alex doesn’t sing. Then, after Alex got hungry and my hands started to complain, we all sat at the table for a late jausen (snack) and a glass of wine.
For folks who are not living ex-pat lives, this may seem odd, but I love going over there especially because they’re not family. In the snowglobe, it’s been very hard for me to find friends and this leads to a shadowy sort of identity – I’m mostly associated with the husband. If you know me at all, you’ll know that that’s a pretty shoddy representation. It’s a delight to hang out there and meet new people and to be myself.
Rebecca and I said goodbye in the driveway but not before she’d invited me to come down and hang out with her in Graz. I had to brush several inches of new snow off the car before driving in to the flurries. I fell in to bed a little overstimulated – the snow, the skiing, the coversation, the music – exhausted but too hopped up to sleep. I dreamt I was on a freighter ship crossing in to Antarctica, the water a flat turquoise like a glacier lake, opaque as house paint. I was at the bow of this giant vessel and involved in some kind of scarring rite of passage that all the sailors took part in when traveling through this area. The sea was cold, of course, but the air was warm and it was like a summer day.
And now, I’m starting over again. The snow is pouring from the sky and the weird snowman outside my window, the one with the icicle spike hairdo, has disappeard up to his waist in the drifts. It’s time for more coffee.