My dad taught me how to downhill ski when I was eight years old.
He was the one riding next to me the first time I stepped onto a chair lift and was the one that picked me up when I fell getting off. He taught me how to wedge my skis and hold my poles.
And he always made ham sandwiches for lunches in the lodge.
Over Christmas, Jeff and I flew to Idaho where I grew up to spend the holidays with my family, and we spent a day skiing with my dad. This time, instead of watching his eight year old daughter wedge down the green circle novice runs, he helped me with my parallel and waited patiently as I made my way down a black diamond.
And as always, he made ham sandwiches. This time with a beer to soothe our muscles.
My dad loves the mountains, and I love the mountains because of my dad.
I got my quiet, introverted nature from my dad, but I realized over Christmas as he helped me down the mountain that I also inherited my ability to savor from him too. Because he is the kind of guy that doesn’t let noise take him over. He feels the mountain, he knows the land, and he loves the quiet.
And that’s why I so vividly remember learning how to ski at eight years old. I remember the soft snow, the awkward poles in my hands, the cool breath in my lungs. We don’t have photos of that day learning to ski, but I will forever have the memory because he had me take it slow.
And little did he know, as he was teaching his little eight year old girl how to ski, he was also teaching her one of her most treasured skills – the ability to savor.
So when Jeff and I had a moment to ourselves in the midst of the holiday festivities, Jeff and I took a walk around the property where I grew up. It’s in the middle of southern Idaho farmland – where all of the hay and potatoes are grown.
And there are fields behind the house that stretch on for miles and miles and miles, and this is where I used to hop on my little grey horse named Ashes after school and let him run wild. He was a crazy, misunderstood, messed up creature and I was a crazy, misunderstood, messed up twelve year old, so he was my best friend.
Over Christmas, I took the time to savor these fields and all of those times riding Ashes. I could feel the reins in my hands, hear the heavy breath of Ashes, and feel his mane whipping me in the face.
I remember those things so vividly because I felt them.
(And it’s why we like to have our couples pause and savor on their wedding days too. So that they remember so much more from their weddings than they ever think is possible.)
The day after Christmas, we went up to Fairfield – a teeny little farm town at the base of the Sawtooth mountains (population 400) – where we spent the day snowmobiling in the big wide fields of the valley. This is the best of rural Idaho – big, wide, snowy, and oh-so-beautiful!