Thursday, January 10, 2013

Paying attention

Sorry open fields. You only got the dismissive ‘very nice’ like one would tell a budding young artist about her work when one was sincere but not really paying that much attention. As I skied the first part of this morning’s loop, my mind was on the start-up phase of a new project instead of on appreciating the natural scene I was skiing through. The track was well packed through open fields. It didn’t require any higher order cognitive skills to navigate. My mind wandered. At least I wasn’t mulling over controversies and issues of one of my other projects. But neither I wasn’t adhering to the guideline “When I am skiing, I am skiing.”

Nature got me back, though. The next part of the loop required my full attention to squeeze through the shrubs and trees and over and around the downed logs. That gave me time to notice the woodlands a bit more. Then nature commanded my attention as I came out of the woods into the stream valley. Bright, slanting morning light on a quarter mile stretch of open stream and wetlands with woods up on the banks. That got more than an ‘very nice.’ That got a ‘oh, yes, wow.’

Nature also got the last laugh. While finishing up the loop, my mind started to wander again only to be brought up short. Nothing fills one’s gloves with snow quite like a hands- first dive into the snow caused by the old ski-under-a-shrub-branch-that-foot-can’t-fit-through routine. After some muttering, I was back on my way only to find myself back into the snow having caught my pole basket in a shrub on the upswing. That elicited some actual vocalizations not meant for others to hear. So OK nature, I get it. In the future, I will  try to remember “when I’m skiing, I’m skiing.”

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