The Sunday before last I got up very early. It was still very dark outside. I drank coffee, got dressed and made my way up the mountain. When I left home it was still dark, but the sun was slowly coming up. The road to the top of the mountain is very narrow for the last 5 kilometres. So narrow that it is sometimes very difficult to swerve when two vehicles meet. Sometimes it is not even possible to swerve and one vehicle has to reverse so that both can pass each other. From Saturday to Sunday it snowed and walls of cleared snow piled up on both sides of the road.
I was on the road very early and was pretty sure nothing was coming my way. But as so often, I was wrong this morning. Suddenly I caught sight of a huge orange snow plough. I sighed and started to drive backwards. The other vehicle was simply bigger than mine. I tried to remember when the next opportunity was to turn out of the road and let the snow plough pass. Nothing came to mind. My three-dimensional vision is pretty much non-existent. When I took the IQ test in my younger years, I scored 0 in this area and because it was so grotty compared to the other areas, I had to retake that part of the test. The test centre thought there must be some mistake. But it wasn’t a mistake, I just can’t do it! So even driving backwards is a pain for me. Not that I can’t do it in the end, but it’s quite time-consuming and ends up with a sweaty back.
I drove backwards – slowly and deliberately like a snail. The driver of the snow plough watched me for a while, but eventually he ran out of patience. Finally, he was working and wanted to finish. He started reversing himself. And how! And with what speed!! If anyone can do anything, he can! Actually, it only took him about 1 minute and he was able to turn off to a farmhouse. I admit I was relieved. I waved at him in gratitude, but he didn’t even dignify me with a glance. When I reached the top of the hill, I was the first. The car park was completely empty, no one there. I put on my shoes and cross-country skis and set off. It was getting light but the sun was not coming through. Incredible shades could be observed. From a very dark blue to very light and combined with the white snow it was just wonderful. Silence and complete peace everywhere. I blocked out Corona for a few hours. I ran and it felt so light and liberating that I didn’t even notice how fast I was going. The conditions were excellent. Probably the best this year. The track was well groomed and hard and the descents fast. I only fell over once when I wasn’t concerted enough and missed the track on the descent. I managed the climbs with incredible ease, as if there had been no climbs at all, just flatland. Where I was at my limit last year, I was now flying up like a bird. The pictures I got to see were impressive. The colours were so intense, the motifs like something out of a picture book. I covered the distance in record time and I didn’t feel tired at all. My body was bursting with energy and my mind felt free. Actually, I had no desire to return to the valley of “sadness”. How nice it would be to stay there now and just keep running until I couldn’t anymore, I thought to myself! But life is full of commitments and promises, and I promised my youngest to come back at lunchtime and do something with him. Reluctantly, I packed my gear and headed for the valley.
The next Sunday the day was grey and rainy, the trail destroyed by the rain and closed. In the rain we went for a walk and the rain felt like tears. The highlight of the day, is a coffee bought from a vending machine at the petrol station!!! If someone had told me a year ago that the highlight of the day would be a coffee bought from a vending machine at the petrol station, I would have thought they were crazy. But that’s just it, you can be wrong about a lot of things.
It is difficult to understand what I really miss most – the spontaneity, the closeness or the possibility to visit my mother. I would like to have all that back in my life. I have hope, optimism too, but the time when everything returns to my life seems further away than I thought in December.