“The Secret Language of Birthdays” named May 10, “The Day of Lone Movers.” Truth be told, I am married to the mountains. The valley landscape of Nashville, Tennessee, guided by brilliant parents, taught me tennis and table manners. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for every skill set, and a family who taught me to follow my dreams. The strong, and “word-full,” vocabulary comes from my parents, and my alma mater, Vanderbilt University, and I know which fork to use at most tables from “meat and three” to gourmet.
Why then is it that the first time I truly felt at home, I was above the tree line? The only time my father (born 1918) skied, was to school in Michigan as a boy. My mother and sister—only quick and painful one-day experiences we don’t talk about at places like Paoli Peaks(Ski Indiana!). The minute I was on skis, which was not until I was 18, and really not more than one day until I was 27, I felt I had met my match. As soon as I could take the lifts and then begin to climb higher past them, I did. Pushing through fear, my ability to take risks worked to my advantage. I followed every great skier I could find, and flew like the wind to keep them in my sight so I could find my way home. It was one heck of a way to learn to ski, and I am grateful for every harebrained and hair-raising moment, and to the men and women who let me tag along.
The NOLS-based program I finished in 1992 in the Smoky Mountains had prepared me well for rules like “cotton is rotten,” but it was the snow of the Rockies, and a new way to move through it, that captured me—mind, body and spirit. I moved West full time in 1997 and began to live life: hike, run, ski, have children, find and lose love(“he loves me— he loves me not” could be my theme song), and adventure through the stages of growing in these beautiful mountains of Aspen, Colorado. I embrace many lives lived in this town— from summer college waitress, to mom, concierge, ski instructor, artist, and entrepreneur.
My 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and now 50’s are playing out in this high-altitude landscape. Part of the reason for the apparel line, LIVBionic, is that playing at the velocity and power I like to, does not get easier with the decades. This week I skinned up, hiked up, skied lift-assisted chasing my 14 year old son, and shook my booty at Shakti Aspen “Body Alive” dance+yoga class. I throw everything I have got at keeping this body alive, and well, and active. I do assess risk more. I also still rely upon teachers, mentors and guides to learn from in the constantly evolving terrain of the inner and outer landscape. I love seeing people who can really ski, really move with a combination of strength and playfulness carving and bounding on their skis like a paintbrush. Every once in a while, I look over my shoulder and light up with glee at the face of a young person flying like the wind, fear pushed aside, just being in the moment, learning how to paint with skis and snow as they work to keep me in sight so they can find their way home.