I came home from my double black diamond experience to find 80 degree weather in Denver. It’s surreal to go from snowy mountains to hot and dry in the city in just an hour and fifteen minutes. My neighbors buzzed by on their moped and looked utterly baffled by my snow pants and ski jacket. “Just got back from skiing.” I managed to blurt out, hoping I didn’t appear as Twilight Zone as I felt. My second beer at high altitude was still in fuzzy effect. I could already tell that my human luge experience was going to reveal its toll in full force by morning. Everything was slow motion and sunny.
When I turned on my computer to check in with the world, I found a rejection letter from a literary magazine. Before I could even sigh or feel a ping or a ting in my confidence. I filed it in my “No Vacancy” folder. That was it. No huffing or puffing. It was like I was sorting mail. I don’t know if it’s because I pushed my limits and careened down a mountain earlier or because I know the slim statistics of getting published, but it didn’t feel bad to hear, no.
I think I realized that giving myself credit for taking a risk far outweighs the result. Better to have had a David Lee Roth tumble down the mountain experience than stay with the familiar view on an intermediate trail. Better to file a No Vacancy letter than it is to keep pages dormant on a hard drive.
The intermediate trail is a fine place. One that I’m sure I’ll continue to enjoy but I know risks drive me toward progress. No guts, no glory.
“Hi Mom, guess what?”
By the tone of my voice she already knows that I am trying to convince her that something was a good idea.
“I skied down a double black diamond trail.”
“I don’t know what this is.”
“It’s the hardest trail. I was at the top of the mountain. 12,313 feet!”
“Szukasz guza!” You’re looking for a goose!
“I love that phrase.”
“A ty na dupie zechalas.” And you road down on your ass.
My mom, she knows me so well.
“Dobrze ze portki nie zgubilas.” It’s good that you didn’t lose your pants.
And I didn’t lose my pants, but I held onto my life by the seat of them.