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Posts Tagged ‘fear’

Last summer, some friends and I participated in a geocaching themed event as part of Greenway Days.  Since our team was composed of six adults (most of the other teams had at least a few kids) and we went into it with A Plan, we won.  By sort of a lot.  Which netted us six free lift passes to a local ski area.  As half of the people in our group either have zero interest in skiing, I wound up with a few extras.  I was pondering this a couple of months ago, and realized I’d probably enjoy those passes a lot more if I took a couple of lessons, so I signed up for a six-week session.

Saturday night was lesson 3 of 6 and overall?  It went fairly well.  I’m getting much more confident on skis and definitely improving my turning and control while heading downhill.  In fact, aside from getting completely freaked out at the top of the blue run, the second half of the lesson couldn’t have gone much better.  There was a bit of fresh snow, and I was having a good time and feeling like I was actually getting the hang of this thing.

The first half of the lesson?  Not quite as smooth.  We started off the lesson by hopping on the lift, which wasn’t a problem for anyone else.  Except for me.  I’m afraid of heights, and I usually spend most of my first lift ride hanging on for dear life and resisting the urge to settle my butt into the chair comfortably because in my minds eye I can just see myself falling out of said chair into the snow below.  I also spend that first lift ride wondering WHY IN THE HELL someone who’s afraid of heights insists on learning how to ski, since this part of it sucks so terribly hard.  On this particular night, things weren’t helped by the fact that I was riding the lift with an 11-year-old girl that was turning around and looking behind her (in my imagination: down she goes!) during the ride and then, as I got off it, I totally lost my balance and was pretty convinced I was going to bite it or run soemone over.  As we stood at the top of that first run I was, shall we say, a bit shaken up.

Which made that first run down absolutely horrible.  I was shaken up from the lift ride, I hadn’t been on skis in two weeks and the top of the hill felt way, way steeper than I was mentally or physically able to handle.  I again wondered what the hell I was doing there and wondering if I could just go home.  The instructor, bless his heart, was incredibly patient and talked me down the hill.  He then proceeded to ride up the lift with me the next few times and gave me some tips for getting off the darn thing in one piece.  On the plus side, I got more and more relaxed with each run down the hill.  By the end of the night, I was even letting myself get some speed up and, dare I say it?  Having fun with it.  I was having enough fun that I intended to stick around for a while after the lesson and get a few more runs in, except I could feel my legs getting tired.  With ten miles to run the next morning, I didn’t want to push it.

I’m glad I sucked it up and faced the Scary Ski Lift and I’m even a little glad that the instructor dragged us up to the top of the terrifying blue run.  (My thoughts as I stood on top of that one?  “I’d really rather not be doing this.”)  Here’s hoping that next week gets off to a better, less frightening start and I can get to the part that reminds me that yes, I actually do enjoy this.

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Coyote Ugly, Indeed

One of the things I learned about the northwest when I moved out here last spring was that we have coyotes here.  It didn’t surprise me all that much since a) we have a lot of heavily wooded areas around here and b) one was spotted in a downtown Chicago Quizno’s the year before I moved away, so, clearly, these are not animals that are going to be kept back by a little civilization.  I wasn’t too worried – I wasn’t a small furry animal roaming the woods alone at night and I never saw or heard one myself.  Even on my early morning runs along the river.  I saw a ton of deer, but no coyotes.

I don’t know what’s different this summer – maybe there’s a new litter in the woods behind our house or something – but while I still haven’t seen one, I’ve heard them.  Usually in the middle of the night, which makes sense, but let me tell you this: a pack of coyotes yowling in the dark is not a pleasant sound.  First of all, it’s loud.  Very, very loud.  Like, “are you sure they’re not all sitting on our deck making that much noise?” kind of loud.  Plus it’s not a pleasant noise at all.  It’s not the sort of elegant solitude that you’d imagine from one lone wolf howling at the moon, but rather a frantic yipping and yowling that sounds less like, “Dude, Bob scored dinner!” and more like a pack of dogs being shoved into a wood chipper.

I’m not ashamed to admit that it sort of freaks me out.  The first time, it was OK.  It wasn’t that loud and I wasn’t even sure what it was until The Boy said something.  Then the other night it was loud enough that it woke me out of a sound sleep at 2:30 in the morning.  I tried to fall back asleep, but it had been so loud and awful sounding that I couldn’t and wound up going downtstairs to doze on the couch until The Boy decided to head up to bed.  At least last night he was upstairs with me when it happened, but it was still more than a little unnerving.

I suppose the one good thing is that it doesn’t go all night, and it’s not every night.  We’ll have a minute or so of frantic howling and yipping, but that’ll be it for a few days.  Even so, I can’t wait for winter to come again so they quiet back down.  Plus, I’m sure the cats would prefer to be let out of the bathroom.  Where they are currently residing.  For their own protection, because there is no way they’re getting even remotely close enough to the doors to make a mad dash for the outside.

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