Last night I skied under a bright half moon, high up along a spine of small mountains up the road, where the snow is just thick enough on the ground. There was a slight breeze; the trees – mostly hardwood, old sugar maples and yellow birch – creaked and popped, and cast long, crooked shadows on the ground that I often mistook for fallen branches. The air was cold and the snow was fast and I felt the way I sometimes do when I ski at night deep in the woods, in the cold, alone: Like I’d stepped just slightly outside myself. Like I could just go and go and go. But eventually I turned back, so as not to worry those waiting at home (turns out I needn’t have been concerned), and traced my tracks back to the truck, where I sat in the dark for a moment, letting the big engine warm itself, feeling beads of sweat roll down my back, watching the thermometer slip from 11 to 10, and the clock roll from 8:31 to 8:32. Grateful to be alive. 48 years now, right at that age where some would say I’m old, and others would say I’m young, and the funny thing is, they’d both be telling the truth.
I’ve been teaching (well: More like facilitating) a writing workshop through an amazing program called Writer’s For Recovery, which offers free, 10-week programs for anyone in the recovery community, no matter what they’re in recovery from. I love it. The people, especially, and the stories they tell, and the unselfconscious way they have of talking about their lives and their feelings and failings. If any of you are in the northern VT area and would like to join us, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Anyone can participate; all that’s required is that you show up sober and curious.