Years ago, when I took up snow sports because all my friends were, of course, accomplished snow boarders and could ski backwards holding chainsaws, I was given two solid pieces of advice:
!) Take lessons – you will learn the right habits up front and not have to relearn over bad habits.
2) Don’t ever wear that weird looking snow suit my friend Cindy gave me one year for Xmas, the one she purchased in a thrift shop that looked like something aliens would wear to visit earth for the first time in the 50s.
I didn’t take lessons because I have always tended to believe that I. Know. Best. Especially with physical stuff. I can FEEL what’s right. My technique in skiing and snow boarding is to hurl myself down hill and when I need to stop – throw myself at the softest place in view and roll like a motherfucker. I am really good at falling from my earlier years learning to ride a horse, and later mountain biking. Falling is a BIG part of my sports technique. Or my technique in general. I’m good at scoping ahead for a nice place to land. Generally.
And I wore that space suit everywhere for years. It was not only the warmest thing ever, it’s hideousness cleared a path for falling. People would part like a sea of OMG and stare in fascination as I careened past. It didn’t take a snow genius to figure out Planet 9 hadn’t sent an Olympic hopeful. Instinct told even the beginners, and pets on trail, that standing still and making yourself small was the only hope for not being involved in whatever ultimate tragedy inertia had in store for Suzy Spacesuit.
So for years a big part of my strategy in life has been ignoring the basics and counting on some point in the future to help me come to a soft conclusion. I have never cared about the BEAUTY of how I got there, or that no one wanted to share a lift.
Thus, I haven’t been regular about working my dogs lately. I’ve been uncharacteristically reticent to f*ck them up. The beauty behind getting to the conclusion is key to everything in this sport and I understand that. Biz and Duke are young and just learning the basics, especially Duke. Jai and I needed time off. I wish it were more about me hurling myself at the post and then eventually falling my way off the field, but it involves OTHERS, so that throws me off my game. Or it has.
But I have these dogs to work and trial. I bought this place so I could have sheep for them. I’ve moved to a land where the nearest decent cocktail is so far away, I might as well have gone back to Planet 9.
I don’t actually CARE, thank god, about winning a trial. I only really care about what I have ever really cared about – the communication, the subtlety, the beauty in these dogs doing what they do.
SO: it won’t be pretty, but we’re going to do what we can do. I’m reading and watching videos. I will go to clinics, get help when we can from friends, and have fun with my dogs on sheep.
I wish I could find the Suit, because it’s colder than an arctic fuck out there.