Spent Thanksgiving in the Northern Kingdom at brother & sister-in-law’s home. Derby, Vermont borders Lake Memphremagog (say that 10 times fast!) (that,that,that,that,that,that,that,that,that,that) and Quebec, Canada! Upwards of two feet of snow lay on the ground. Jay Peak, one half hour away, has a base of 30 inches.

I cannot describe the glory of donning Cross Country skis Friday morning and traversing across their 10-acre parcel through the woods to a trail groomed by thoughtful neighbors. (Much to be said for living rural.)

I had a profound awareness of the juxtaposition of skiing this year as it related to last year. Last year, when setting out, I had to grit my teeth as brain cells numbed to my aching Achilles. After a while the pain became more bearable but never fully went away – and I paid for it a few hours after ceasing.

This year – pain free – after 20 or so hours of physical therapy and continuing dutiful daily stretching exercises. I marvel at the body’s ability to heal itself – given expert, studied direction.

And I wonder at the seven years spent in varying levels of pain through avid running and skiing and am reminded of the joy one receives ceasing and desisting the hammering of one’s hammered thumb.