Day 10: Slow Down

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The sun kept burning a blur through the clouds for a couple of hours after the snow started.  At one point the day even brightened, the sun sharpened in the gray sky, and the snow picked up.  A paradox.  By the time David and I headed out across the fields for a quick ski before dark there was only snow and a flat, monotone sky.

Climbing a steep hill I heard a loud flutter and crash and looked up from working my skis in a herring bone pattern to counter the slope.  Turkeys, several of them lifting from high in the white pines, dark shapes moving between the tall trunks and settling back into the jumble of branches, disappearing again.  

I’d started my day frustrated and teary, getting lost on my way to a writers’ group meeting.  There was no reason to be lost.  I’ve been to this friend’s house many times, I’d looked at the directions again on-line before I left.  I even took the right turn, then told myself it didn’t look right and turned around.  For at least a few miles I knew I was going the wrong way but I didn’t stop to put the friend’s address into my phone and get directions.  I just kept driving.

It didn’t make sense, to keep going in the wrong direction because I was late and impatient and felt like I didn’t have time to stop and make sure I knew where I was.  And where I was going.  It all just made me even later.

Why do I have so much trouble slowing down?

Wild turkeys don’t think about where they’re going.  They heard David and me climbing the hill under where they were roosting, one of them flapped off its branch, which stirred the rest of them, and there was a commotion for a few moments.  Then quiet.

Where am I trying to go?

Wherever that might be, the late day ski helped me let go of my mistake and frustration.  One ski forward, then the next, my arms planting my poles into the snow in a regular pattern.  Left, right, up, down.  Movement.  I wasn’t trying to get anywhere other than into the woods, in the snow, in the falling light.  

Skiing back to the house the falling snow in dusk light made it look like we were moving underwater.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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