AGE: What’s snow and ice got to do with it?

For the longest time, I used this as my facebook profile photo:

That’s not the high arctic or the Rockies. That’s Signal Hill on a particularly frigid day in January 2007.

The hill can be treacherous at the best of times, but that day the snow had crusted over thanks to a dose of freezing rain. It turned all the West-facing slopes into bobsled runs: slick, fast, and dangerous.

We could have used crampons and ice picks. Instead, we threw ourselves off the rocks and slid like seals across the expanse of ice, before bringing up solid on the next ridge of rock or a patch of bare, hard ground. (The wind blows so fiercely that the snow drifts into feet-high drifts in places, leaving other patches of frozen grass bare).

There were three of us that day: my sister, myself and an Aussie friend visiting NL for the first time.

Our friend was 31 at the time – a dentist and musician who had taken a year off to travel the globe. As I threw myself across the ice, she was a little more careful with her step. I commented that she was being careful only because she hadn’t grown up around snow and ice.

No, she said. (She was a mad adventurer herself). She was being careful because she was “old.” Since she hit her late 20s, she couldn’t jump off rocks and barrel down hills the way she used to. Oh she could DO it, but she would know about it the next day. So she chooses to step with more care and not subject her body to repeated hard landings on hard ice and rock.

Fair enough, I said. I understood.

But what I actually thought was, “The day I have to slow down and watch my step on snow and ice will be the day I die.”

Turns out, I was an impertinent little 22-year old.

Here I am now, not yet 28, and running back to the house for my hiking boots when I’m only going across the road and down the bank to our beach. My old cycling injury flares up when it rains (seriously). I slipped on the ice in our Alberta driveway and was sooooore the next day.

Is it age? Can my ankles really no longer hold their own over a few loose stones?
Is it fitness? I’m sure as hell not the athlete I once was, although thanks to a few New Year’s Resolutions that is changing.
Or is it maturity, knowing that a twisted or broken ankle now would be a lot more complicated to handle than as a single gal?

A little bit of all three – I can’t do much about the first nor last, but I think I’ll take myself out for a run this afternoon, the gale of wind be damned.

I’m not old yet.

Today: AGE

Tomorrow: LISTENING

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10 responses to “AGE: What’s snow and ice got to do with it?

  1. I just had knee surgery last December and I still have one more surgery to get through. And I have to say that age has beaten me up a little. I miss my old athletic body, but I still LOVE the one I have now. Maybe I should love it just a little more. I get what you mean about the coming of years and the aging process. It is hard to believe that only a couple years ago you were running about on slippery snow without a care in the world (Just last summer I jogged every single day) and now… age has caught up with us? I sincerely hope not. Let’s rock this out, girl. Our bodies may be older, but we can do whatever we want, right?!

    Aging… sometimes fun… sometimes hard work. 😉

    Alita

  2. This was living living in a different language. Snow, ice, crampons … for this Southern girl, I have no frame of reference. But I understand the caution that overtakes you at a certain age. That is universal.

  3. My “age” shows up in my knees too – shearing of the patellas – good times. Now when I run I have to listen to my body and recognize the limits it sometimes puts on me. The good thing is I can still run, workout, etc. I just need to keep that ear open…

    • Very true – I’m also very thankful I can run, hike, bike, etc. A few aches and pains is really nothing to complain about in the grand scheme of things.

  4. The other day I was walking up the stairs and my knees were snap, crackle, and popping so bad that my husband thought our son had gotten back into the packing materials.

    I’m only 33.

  5. Nothing like an injury to make you feel your age….but still in chronological terms I’m 42. Mentally I’m holding steady at 29….. But I am more careful!

  6. I’ve decided to be a bit more cautious in life, too. I never was. I’d always throw myself into anything and everything–be it physical, intellectual or emotional. I think with age comes a bit of perspective that we don’t have to do everything, that taking it slow has its rewards, too. I don’t know…something like that?

    Great post!

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