Dear Ski Family Far and Wide,
As I did once, to kick off the summer, I am enjoying writing this newsletter from the tranquility of the dock, here in Bumpass. Well, Sparta is insisting that I throw her buoy at roughly 5-minute intervals but the four and a half minutes in between are quite peaceful. Sitting here I am reminded clearly of that mid-May Day, typing my last “dock-newsletter”. The temperature is perfect; the lake a sheet of glass. Though last time, the sun was feeling stronger every day, the days were getting longer and summer held endless promise. Now, the leaves are changing, different animals fill the woods with sound and the Bum Pass Water Ski Club has closed for winter.
Though one can easily become melancholy at the thought of another summer gone, I feel a strong autumnal optimism. As the trees drop leaves, Fall reminds me that life has its seasons too. Chasing the sun the last three years (and obsessing rather compulsively about skiing), I may have forgotten a few of life’s other simple pleasures. The change in seasons reminds me of the inevitability of life’s changes. Though, only through constant awareness of life’s changing nature can one hope to make choices that manifest positive changes – a bit ironic, don’t ya think? As tonight’s crisp air is the yin to the yang of that promising mid-May day on the dock, I am entering the broader yin to the obsessive yang of the last few years. My hope is that this balancing improves all parts of my life and thus, the lives of those I meet, know and love.
So much has happened since my last newsletter, I won’t dare try to cover the half of it. In 3 weeks ago, Clarence Swift and Brett Brandeau were just showing up for a man-ski-trip, as were Jeff McKeel and Scott Miller. The man-ski-trips were a wonderful way to end the season (yes ending with the Streater’s would have been killer too but I can’t complain since the last day of ski school was the ONLY RAINED OUT DAY OF THE SUMMER!). I left the farm that rainy day for a tournament at Little Mountain in NC but only made it as far as my cousin, Bethy’s, couch at Wake Forrest. I got to watch Nate Smith run 41 off (again), Jeff Rogers break the national record (again) and I was happy just to get into 41 off (again). From Little Mountain, my new friend, Nick Purcell (pro skier from Australia), and I took off for Bud Lake in Columbia SC, where we conducted secret experiments with areal videography, with Mr. Bud Davis (low country ski guru) and had a blast doing it. As I dropped Nick off at Trophy Lakes to start my Charleston vacation, I had a new friend and new knowledge that I would only be spending November and December of this “offseason” in Acapulco. I spent the next three days in the company of two of my best friends, Sammy and Teddy, who were also roommates of mine in Clemson. The highlight of this trio’s reunion was most definitely a night of shrimpin’ in Charleston Harbor. Then it was off to USA Water Ski Headquarters for Eastern Collegiate Regionals, with a quick stop at the airport to snag another great Clemson friend, Jessica. I was pleased to find Paul happy, healthy and tearing it up for Alabama. I was shocked by how old I felt hanging out with a large group of college kids! As I turned 26, I hopped off “the wagon” and entered a new age.
26 has been treating me well. I got to spend my actual birthday by meeting my baby godson, Brady, who grabbed onto a very special place in my heart. Alex, Brady’s dad, and I have been close friends since childhood and it was great to see him as well. When the Redskins won that day to become #1 in the NFC East, my life almost felt complete!
My road trip home was uneventful and reflective, while on the road. It did involve a stop back through Charleston for a night on the town with Sammy and Teddy, leading to me sleeping in my car (Hey, 26 isn’t that old!). Teddy’s wildness carried over to the next day, as he took his first ever jump set at Trophy Lakes before I had to jet out of town. I made it to Bumpass in time to grab some clean clothes and a night of sleep in my own bed, before continuing to DC for Mike’s Bachelor Party (that’s my mom’s fiancé and yes they are deeply in love and if the last five years are any indication, they have a lifetime of happiness ahead of them). Though the party left me a little slow yesterday, I rebounded today and started my day quite fast. I participated in my first Sprint Triathlon. The event was great, surprisingly fun and addictive. Even more surprisingly, I won my division! Great, another expensive, big-kid sport! My cousin, Jenna Weaver (who convinced me to tri) also won her division! I enjoyed lunch and this beautiful day at Bear Lake, before finally making tracks home. What a long, strange trip it’s been…
Now home, these great adventures, places and friends become memories, as they need to, to usher in new experiences as we all race forward in time with no brakes. With so much to absorb, I was hoping for some affirmation that at least I’m speeding along the right path, before accepting the euphoria of the ride. As I walked down to the dock to begin this newsletter (actually, it was supposed to be my toast for the wedding, but I got sidetracked here – sorry Min -manana), I spotted a rainbow in the Bumpass sky, inviting me to affirm that moment in time and in doing so, every moment that brought me there.
I had a wonderful summer. Did all of Spring’s potential play out as I had hoped or expected. Heck no! Though, can I really say I was wise enough to know the optimal route for my reality to unfold? Now that summer’s chapter has been written, we are all left the opportunity to start new chapters and tweak the plot-line based on the failures and successes, highs and lows and the learnings of summer in our never-ending quest to write a happy, satisfying and authentic story for ourselves.
I hope everyone enjoyed summer. I know that I enjoyed my time with many people on this email list. I hope some of you will share in my autumnal optimism, as I know from past years that this can be a disappointing time of year. If we accept the premise that “Life is Good,” the changing of the seasons and changing nature of life must be good too. For this is the only way we could believe that our tomorrows can be better than our yesterdays and todays.
See you all in the future. Let’s make it a great one!
Peace, Love & Waterskiing,
P.S. This newsletter’s song selection is “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland. Yes, I know everyone has heard this one but how long has it been?
P.P.S. Maddie Miller turned 15 on Oct.1 (the day before my birthday). Paul and I sung her the most-lovely duet she had ever heard. Taylor has given up high school and taken up woodworking.
P.P.P.S. Tomorrow will make two weeks since I have touched my ski – my longest break in well over two years. Also, the first time all four pair of board shorts I own have ever been clean at the same time.