Cubs are gonna win today!
I’ve been feeling a little unsettled these days; as though the edges of my usually clear-cut silhouette are blurred, just a bit out of focus.
Restlessness is common for me this time of year. The end of the season brings a let down that, though I have been counting down to since the end of February, always hits me like a ton of bricks. It’s like I am still sprinting to the finish, but the finish already came and now I am just running in place…waiting on the next race.
I had that realization of running in place today, walking back to my office after my final meeting of the day. It was our bi-monthly Breck Leadership team meeting; a quick catch-up with other Breckenridge senior leaders that is generally centered around resort happenings; though by happenstance, today’s discussion was centered around accountability.
Accountability. Seems like a fairly simple concept. I mean we all need and hopefully have a support system that we trust enough to hold us accountable for our actions, our emotions, and for reaching our goals. But for some reason the concept of holding myself accountable was shocking.
I’ve always considered my leadership skills to be on par with or above the abilities of those around me. But it dawned on me that while I’ve been busy running in place, I have forgotten to hold myself accountable for my own actions, emotions, and goals. I have been so busy trying to find the next race that I haven’t stopped to feel and see the big picture of life around me. Of the importance of being kind and available to my staff, and my friends, and my family. Of the beauty of the mountains in the springtime as towering thunderheads roll over our stately peaks and back into town. Of the excitement (and frankly, terror if you are as frightened of mountain animals as myself…) of a baby moose and its mama lumbering down Main Street greeting a new day as the sun’s bright rays dip down and touch the valley floors.
I let myself get wrapped in not feeling, or perhaps feeling too much, that I forgot to take a step back and breathe and tune into the feelings and emotions coursing through my body. Because as important as it is to keep up with day-to-day demands, it’s just as important to hold yourself accountable for running away from day-to-day demands.
Besides, running in place can be pretty lonely. Not to mention, very dull. It’s way more exciting to come face to face with a moose as you leave your garage than it is pretending as though that moose doesn’t exist.
When I was younger, death was just a concept; a state of being that other people sometimes experienced. It was as though I believed that those closest to me were untouchable; living just beyond the reaches of Death’s grubby fingers.
Alas, the reality of life came crashing down five days ago when the world lost the most wonderful man. This was a man who set an example for all of us when it came to loving and living without abandon and was famously known to those closest to him as, Dampa.
Dampa was so many things to so many people but for me he left behind a legacy of love and of kindness. Dampa was a man who loved so hard and was so loved by everyone he had the opportunity to wrap up in a giant bear hug or ambush with a big ‘ol smacker, right on the lips. He laughed big, he lived big, and never forgot to tell our Damma–the love of his life, his sons and daughters in-law, and his grandkids just how proud of them he was.
We’ve always been a close bunch and Damma and Dampa are the glue that have held the relationships together. Though we are spread out among the far reaches of the United States, and though we span many ages, you could always count on Dampa for news on the goings-on around the Florida Simses or the Oregon Simses or the Chicago Simses or the Virginia Simses, heck even the recent Colorado Sims transplants. He would call all of us a few times a month to hear about what’s going on in our lives, share an anecdote or two, and encourage us to check in on our cousins and aunts and uncles because it mattered that we loved each other and it mattered most that he shared in that love.
I love you to the moon and back, Dampa. Thanks for teaching me to always be kind and to love until it hurts. Enjoy the view from up above.
Fall is fleeting up here at 9300′.
It blows in overnight, flexing its artistic vein as it paints the hillsides in shades of gold and red and fiery orange.
It drops gilded carpets of Aspen leaves on forest paths as though laying down a golden carpet fit for mountain royalty.
I like to pretend that I myself, am the aforementioned royal visitor. I stroll between seasons on a long Aspen leaf lined carpet into my kingdom of statuesque trees, waving to my Mountain sentinels as I go.
I wrap myself in Mother Nature’s earthy perfume and memorize the tune bellowed from deep within the woods–the hum of the bees, the whisper of the wind, the trickle of water, and the cracking of wood as my woodland neighbors wander invisibly among the swaying trees.
It had to have been one or two in the morning, but I lay wide awake in the tent; alert enough that it felt as if day were about to break.
The night air had dropped to the low 30s and frost covered the rain fly creating little ice crystals that glittered and danced under the full moon.
I lay there, nestled deep within the downy depths of my sleeping bag with only my nose and cheeks exposed to the cool mountain air, and I listened.
Our campsite, sheltered in the midst of stoic Lodgepole pine trees on the banks of a high alpine lake, was high enough up a long, boulder filled, dirt road that traffic noises were obsolete. The night was windless and the air was still and cold, chilly enough that the atmosphere around the tent seemed to be frozen in time.
I listened and I listened. I and realized that for the first time in as long as I could remember, there was nothing outside of my own thoughts and my own slow breaths to listen to.
The whirl of the winch, the spin of the handle.
The sound of the waves rushing past, rapping the hull like a rhythmic drum verse; a pulse as we ride up the mountainous swell and surf down the other side, deep into its trough.
Whoosh. Arms and hands a smear of gray as they spin around and around pulling in the ease on the sheet.
“It’s me! I’m coming down, I’m coming down.”
A flap of the chute, a snap really, as it settles back into position. Full and bright. A parachute tugging its charge down a watery path.
The early morning sun is starting to wake. She stretches her glittery rays up above her head tickling the high clouds and winking a soulful “good morning!” to the rolling waters of Lake Michigan.
The sailors pause a moment, faces angled to the east, embracing the golden warmth of the rays, drinking in the colors of the birth of a new morning.
A moment later, the chute, indignant that it be ignored in the face of a new day, signals its displeasure with a loud snap as it folds into itself.
Startled, the sailors return their attention to the roiling waters, the wind, the sway of their vessel.
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