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I don't want flowers for Valentine's Day.

Saturday morning, my body fought against me from the moment I woke up.  My back, joints, head, and stomach were all telling me that I should stay at home and curl up with a heating pad.  I almost gave in, but I knew I’d regret it if I did.  The week before, we’d had a warm spell as a warning sign of spring.  That meant that my chances to ski were rapidly coming to an end.  I took an array of drugs to quell my various ailments, and then donned my under armor.

Upon arrival at the mountain, the weather turned against me too.  Although the temperature was a tolerable 30 degrees, the wind was fierce and cold.  It nearly knocked me over.  On my first run down the mountain, the gusts were actually strong enough to bring me to a complete stop.  On the next several runs, a snow squall impaired visibility so much that I couldn’t see five feet in front of me.

Once the sun set, my fingers and toes started to throb from the cold despite my best efforts to keep them warm.  I went into the lodge for a coffee and went back out again.  At that moment I realized that my back, joints, head, and stomach felt fine, and hadn’t bothered me all day.  Neither pain nor weather had stopped me, and I had the time of my life. 

Skiing is a hobby I started three years ago, and I only wish I’d started sooner.  I feel like I’ve missed out by discovering it so late in life.  No matter how often I ski, it’s never enough.  And no matter where life takes me, it’s clear that I will continue to make skiing a regular part of my winters.

My heart sank just a little when I went outside this morning and saw the sun shining, the snow melting, and a surprising 50 degrees on my car thermometer.  I sat in Panera by the fire, sipping coffee and pondering the possibility that I may not get to ski again this winter.  I’m not ready for spring.  Just one more day on the mountain, please, I pleaded to the blue sky. 

Less than an hour later, Mother Nature herself answered my plea.  Sending a Valentine to my skiing heart, she shrouded the blue with clouds, sent forth a cold wind, and dropped the temperature at least 15 degrees.  Now I look out my window to a winter’s day, and I can feel my toes going numb as the cold draft seeps in through the walls.  I am smiling, hopeful that I will indeed get that one more Saturday on the slopes.  Thank you Mother Nature. 

If only I could send her some chocolates in return.

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