Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do One Brave Thing ...

One winter when I was a senior and my friend was a sophomore, there was a storm that covered the ground in thick, fluffy snow ... and we decided that we needed to go sledding.  I'd spent the night at her house and we'd woken up to an amazing blanket of white.  When we saw that snow, sledding wasn't just a thought ... it was a moral imperative.

She lived on a hill and we went outside and surveyed the landscape.  At the top of the hill, there was a long drive and three or four houses were built along it.  Midway down the slope were several other houses ... most of which were owned by various relatives of hers. 

It wasn't a ritzy neighborhood by any stretch of the imagination.  It was just a hill in the country with houses built into it.  There was some old fencing covered with scrub that separated some of the properties ... and there was a gap in the fencing about fifteen feet wide.

My friend and I decided that day that we could thread that needle.  We could sled from the top where her house was ... make the gap in the fence ... and wind up sliding safely into her aunt's back yard at the bottom of the hill.  No, we hadn't been drinking ... feeling invincible and making stupid mistakes is just part of being young, I suppose.

We couldn't find a sled or a plastic flyer ... but we dug around until we found a plastic garbage can lid that we figured would make due.  We were utterly fearless ... and more than a little stupid.  We got on that lid .... held on tight ... and pushed off.  

The hill was steep ... and the snow flew into our faces and all around us in a spray.   We hadn't counted on that spray.   We also hadn't counted on that fresh snow being so deep and so powdery.  We were going fast ... there was no way to steer ourselves into that gap.  Once we started veering off course ... there was no way to change our trajectory.

We hit the wooden fence post and went flying ass over teacup.  We rolled the rest of the way down the hill and into her aunt's back yard.   We laid there for a moment and then started laughing ... neither of us wanting to admit that we were hurt ... or even worse ... scared.  

I remember her mom walking out onto their porch and looking at us.  She shook her head and walked back inside.  If I'd snapped my neck, it would've made that old woman's day ... but since we were in the process of standing up and brushing off the snow, she took her disappointment and left.

The motto of youth ... do one brave thing today ... then run like hell.

Took this love and I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
Till the landslide brought me down

Fleetwood Mac - Landslide

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