Marolt: More flavor in taking small bites from a larger buffet

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic
Roger Marolt

There is a time when the earth finally thaws and unleashes a winter’s worth of smells that have been sealed off from our senses by soil hermetically frozen a foot deep since about the last time the days were longer than the nights. Walking outdoors or even cracking a window within 12 hours of that moment fills a nose with such wonderfully rich aromas it is like what might be produced if 12 thunderstorms were brewing over a nearby ridge.

The annually familiar scent seldom agrees with what the calendar says, but since it is real and the measurement of time on paper is only a trick to make us believe we can guess what comes next, the fragrance of life once again unleashed means that springtime has arrived.

It’s a good season here. There’s no rush to get to the slopes, even if you want to go skiing. The trails are too muddy for biking and running so there is no guilt in being a slacker, because there are no slackers until the solstice. You can do yard work, which gives the satisfaction of getting ahead, but, if you don’t, there is plenty of time ahead for that and thus no penalty for idleness. Naps are common on Plans of the Day.

It has been said for so long that spring is a time for renewal that we accept this as truth. I believe it is more a time that, by the warm rays of wisdom, truth is thawed from convention where it has been hidden from clear view by a cold, opaque sheet that, when melted, can actually help sustain life.

The rigidness of youthful thinking once had me believe that the old didn’t partake because they couldn’t. Experience has taught me that less is more.

There is a reason I don’t ski from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon anymore and I used to blame it on my aching back that I knew an entire day on the slopes didn’t do it any favors as far as the next day was concerned. What I know now is that shortened days on the slope are a result of kinks in my spine, but not in a physically limiting way.

What I learned through three back surgeries is not only that healthcare costs are out of control, but also that there is a lot more to life than skiing. Recovery is not only about physical rehab. It is also about discovering things that fill the void of time left gapingly open when what you are convalescing from what has been taken away.

There is a lot of life out there and practically none of it lived by all human beings is used up sliding down snowy slopes on slippery boards. The same is true for mountain biking, tennis, golf, running or collecting stamps. These are gifts given mercifully to fill the inevitable periods when life regroups to come at us again.

I tried to build a lifestyle around skiing. I attempted to forge an identity with it. I have been partially successful on both accounts, but fortunately failed to notch a checkmark next to each on my Bucket List. Far from learning that this would be impossible, I know for certain that it can be accomplished. What I also know now to be true is that the cost of these achievements could only come at a price I couldn’t afford when I was 25 and isn’t worth paying at the age of 54.

I fully appreciate the thrill of the one-hour ski outing. I get a rush from 90 minutes of single-track mountain biking. After a 20-minute run, I feel refreshed to the point of invigoration. I wish golf could be bought and played by the hour. This all leaves plenty of time for the life I had been too exhausted to meaningfully participate in when I was younger. I’m not talking about special events, either: just the delicious ordinary stuff that I don’t even necessarily have to comb my hair for.

I still look forward to an all-day hike, but that’s because it requires far less concentration than contemplation, and that allows it to more gently meld into life than the other escapes I seek more for an adrenaline charge.

Spring is a welcome reminder of this for me. I love spring. There is little that I have to do today, which leaves the door wide open for a zillion possibilities. I’ll let the warm breeze flow around me and wait in relaxed excitement to see what comes.

Roger Marolt understands that mud season is where life is renewed.


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