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Again and Again and Again

20200130_063342Sunrise in the woods

Snow turns to rain turns to sleet and back to snow again. I drive over the mountain to ski with my son, the road unplowed, the truck in four-wheel-drive, the heat on high, windshield wipers slapping time. The both of us quiet. Coming down the other side, near the bottom, we pass an old farmhouse with rows of laundry hung to dry under the roof of a covered porch. It’s a beautiful sight, all that color against the flaking paint of the house and the monochrome of the sky.

In town we stop for gas. The snow is lighter now, the sky less oppressive. The pump whirs and whirs. It’s barely mid-morning, but I’ve been up for hours and I’m tired. The pump clicks off and I top it off to the next highest dollar, and if I’d gone over by mistake (I don’t, I barely ever do), I’d’ve taken it to the next highest quarter dollar. It’s just one of those things I do.

At the mountain I chase my boy. He skis fast, right on the edge of what feels controllable to me. The speed invigorates me, forces me to pay attention. The snow is still falling, but it’s lazy now. My chin is so cold. From the chairlift, we watch the ski academy kids run gates, leaning one way and then the other, like those big inflatable dolls you can’t tip over no matter how hard you push them, the ones that just return to center again and again and again.

10 thoughts on “Again and Again and Again”

  1. Hi Ben…..Hung laundry, next highest dollar, skiing on the edge, and a Joe Palooka Punching Bag (original name according to my friend). You covered a lot of bases here and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  2. HI read this for the fifth time today. I check here for your writing way more often than I should – I miss the Ben Hewitt books (Home Grown, when you had that awesome giving-ness to share your world with us, was about the best).

    I noticed a metaphor at the end – maybe intended, maybe not. Those ski academy kids – they come back to center again and again. Is there something there that you leave for us to read in to this? For some reason I feel like if I was the metaphorical dad in this case I’d want my son to veer way off course and, hopefully, find a better way. How about you?

    1. Hi Mark, thanks for the note. Yeah, I think I’ve lost a bit of that giving-ness… or maybe it’s just that it no longer feels as much mine to give, if that makes any sense. The metaphor you’re referencing wasn’t conscious, but I think you’re spot on. And really, not just for our kids… for all of us. Hope you’re well, and thank you for continuing to read.

  3. I was sorry to read about the young man’s suicide. I can’t say that I understand how young people can feel that their lives are so hopeless that suicide if the only logical path to take.

    One of my high school classmates, John, shot and killed himself when he found out that he’d failed a class and wouldn’t get his diploma along with the rest of us. Maybe he was embarrassed by his failure, but I don’t know ’cause if he left a note, I never heard about it. It must have seemed like the most important thing in the world to him at the time, but given a year or two and a GED, it would have been small potatoes, just a bump on the road of life.

    Worse, in my opinion,was another of my classmates, a young mother, who asphyxiated herself in a dark garage on a cold winter day a couple of years later. Her parents were good people who went on to raise the child, who is now only a five or six years younger than you are.
    I never could understand how she could abandon her child like that, the whole mothers’ bonds with their children thing, but she did.

    Nearly 50 years ago I aspired to be one of those BMA ski racers who you saw running gates. I applied, but wasn’t accepted, not enough driver or talent and too old at 17 so said Warren and Chris. Speaking of BMA, I saw that Mikaela Shiffrin’s Father, Jeff, died earlier this month. Mikaela is on her way to become the most successful alpine ski racer of all time and is a BMA kid. Jeff was a just a few short months older than me. When your peers start dying, it makes you think about your own mortality more than you want to.

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