Ethan is a penguin. It starts snowing outside, and he starts jumping up and down a little bit. His fingers start twitching, and he starts glancing toward the corner we keep the sled in.
Needless to say, this past week has been snowy – and therefore, my husband has been anxious to get bundled up and go hurtling down the mountainside. I’m not really a fan of the cold, but throwing my body down a hill at 40 mph on an untrustworthy plastic dish is an entirely different story. I’m in.
So yesterday we headed south to a really great sledding park I went to last year. Turned down the street… turned around, turned down another street… turned around, turned down a street… looped around and admired all the identical town-homes…
Eventually, we gave up on finding the park and just went up to Rock Canyon Park, where everybody else goes. It meant sharing the park, but it also meant the snow was packed down by previous sledders – more painful to fall, but way faster to sled on. Oh, life was good.
We went down once together, got showered with snow, biffed it, and laughed. Then we found a ramp somebody made, with a good frozen grassy slope leading up to it. Ethan went down. Biffed it. Laughed. I went down.
Now, that hill was pretty steep. And I don’t know if you’ve ever used one of those little round saucer sleds, but let’s just say they’re all about speed and not in any way about control. So the point at which I struck the ramp was right about when I hit mach 5, legs facing south, just a little terrified. I caught air and flew about 4500 feet straight up, watching my sled fly in the opposite direction, and did a graceful aerial with my limbs outstretched. I landed – legs facing north – on my face, which slid a few feet before the rest of my body followed and rolled down the hill. It was certainly a triumph of human dignity and grace.
I lay there a moment, face down, taking mental inventory of my body. All accounted for except my face. I raised my head and held it above the snow for a few seconds. No blood on the snow. This was a good sign. At the top of the hill, Ethan was laughing and nervously asking if I was okay.
Trouble is, it was about 9 degrees outside. So my face was wet, cold, and completely numb. I had absolutely no idea how much of a face I actually had. At least whatever was left wasn’t bleeding. I tried to give a thumbs-up sign before climbing up the hill, but my lips were swollen and cold, and I didn’t want to try to speak. Ethan met me halfway up the hill, worried about me, but we took a quick inventory and discovered that my face was still attached, just scratched up a bit.
We went home pretty soon after that, so I can’t really pretend to have achieved any sledding prowess yet this year, but I’m glad I started off the winter with a good scrape and some fantastic air time. Let’s hope my next sledding adventure lasts a bit longer – and hurts a bit less. ♦