Metaphorical True Story:
I started snowboarding the weekend after Christmas 2008. It was a rough start, yet I’ve improved quite a bit since that first lesson. I’ve always been very straight on the board… very conscious of every move I make… determined to remain upright…. and a bit freaked out by an uneven terrain. Earlier this week I started going faster and even tried the half-pipe. My confidence bumped up a notch.
Then I got my board tuned up. I’d never had it waxed/sharpened before and I thought it was time. When I got it back, it was in great shape. The problem was, it was fast as hell and I could not function on it. I was a blundering unproductive mess- just like the first time. It was like learning everything all over again…
Thursday night I was carving through some sugary snow and I started to pick up speed… then I discovered that I was leaning more- that my body was not upright, but rather at an angle to the ground. My knees were bent- really bent! I was lower and angled and I was moving at a faster pace than I had ever been comfortable with before. I realized that I wasn’t speaking to myself aloud like I sometimes do. I wasn’t even thinking about instructing myself what to do. I was looking where I was going and I was flowing quickly over the ridges and I wasn’t crashing and I wasn’t stopping. I was just riding it.
I had let go and accepted the effect of gravity and the imperfections in the surface. By altering my stance I was able to adapt more quickly and be more in-tune with the experience. And…. as fast as I was going, as angled as I was, as much as my board left the ground when I hit the bumps… I wasn’t scared. I was- for the first time, I realized- having a blast. All those other times I thought I was enjoying myself, I was still holding on- still trying to stand straight, to calculate and prepare for every second… and you can’t really ride the mountain when you’re fighting the mountain.