With The Greatest Of Ease…

He flies through the air with the greatest of ease
That daring young man on the flying trapeze

To fly through the air accidentally or on purpose…
That is the question.

Dillon, my son, and Betty, my Lady, have been spending time with me
up here in the frozen tundra of the Great Northwest. We’ve had a great time together,
Dil & B have gotten to know each other, and we’ve already shared some pretty funny
stories and experiences… which is why I haven’t written a post here recently. Nothing
like the holidays and company to keep one hopping, right??

One of the fun things we three decided to do together was to take an easy cruise on my snowmobiles up Alder Gulch, a road along  Alder Creek which stretches for six miles up into the mountains
south of Virginia City, gaining around 2500′ in altitude along the way. Deer, moose, coyotes
and fox are not uncommon up in there.

The scenery is pretty great, the ride is easy, if one
stays on the trail, as the V.C. Groomers (of which I am one) keep the trail groomed and
smooth all winter long. B & I rode the new sled, while Dil rode by himself on the older sled,
until he got his “snowmobile legs” under him. Then we traded and he took off down the
trail on the new sled as if he’d been riding all his life.

On the way back to town we stopped for a breather at 3-mile, an open spot next to the
trail that is sometimes used as a parking lot for sled trailers in the Spring. I told Dil to take
the new sled around the big lot a few times, to get used to turning more sharply and learn
to lean into the turn. Well. he did two turns around the big lot while I was trying to set my
camera into video mode. I heard the motor rev high and looked up to see Dil and the
sled flying through the air toward Alder Creek, Dil already separated from the sled but flying
along side it. It was the strangest moment, all in slo-mo, and I remember not believing
what I was seeing even before Dil and the sled slowly spun back to earth.

Dil and the sled disappeared down a small bank and hit the snow, side by side. B said
“Oh dear God” and started for him. I put down my camera to follow her when he popped
up over the bank and yelled, “I’m okay!”  So we rode the old sled over to him, to check
him out, make sure he was all right. He was a bit dazed, but otherwise fine. We got the
sled upright and back up on the level, he rode it around a bit, said he felt fine, so we
all rode home. He bruised his leg, but nothing more serious than that.

With the greatest of ease, he flies through the air
He knows he will land, but he knows not where…

You know, we all have moments…. defining moments, when we, or our loved ones, are
momentarily in harm’s way. In those moments there is so much basic, pertinent, important
information going on in our minds, our hearts and our emotions in those moments…
if and when they turn out okay, and we’re willing to relive them, and our perception of them,
I think that we learn a great deal about ourselves in those moments. We learn if we love
someone, and how much. We learn what we’re willing to do for them. We learn that maybe
our life is so intertwined with theirs, that if they were to lose theirs, we would also lose ours.
We learn how strong love, and our love for them, is. We learn how far we’re willing to go
to save them from harm… perhaps  to give our own life for them. This examination, I’ve
found, has to be close to the event itself, otherwise our visual remembrance and our
relief that all turned our all right will blur the clarity of our emotions of that special moment.

I heard the love and concern in B’s voice when she saw Dil disappear into the snow bank
and whisper, “Oh dear God.” And she’d only known him 3 or 4 days. But it was there. I
remember thinking, “B’s got a cell phone. If he’s hurt, we’ll save him… we’ll find a way.”
And the incredible relief when he popped up and yelled to us, “I’m okay!” The relief flooded
from the top of my brain to my toenails. I was vibrating. Relief on that magnitude is a
powerful emotion. Some people fall to their knees. I think I might have peed my pants.

We can’t have fun… hell, we can’t really even live our lives to the fullest, if we don’t have
some adventures, some danger, some moments, some accidents. Sorry, but we just can’t.
For one thing, life isn’t designed that way. We can be in danger going to the grocery store.
We  can have an accident in the kitchen. Well then… should we not live a little closer to
the edge, to experience a little more excitement, to feel a little more alive?? Many of you
do that, I know. Skiing, sailing, snowmobiling, kayaking, 4-wheeling… in all those
activities there is a thrill, an excitement, a challenge, a moment, and a satisfaction. Why
would we want to give that up? Is that not much of the stuff life is made of, after all?

As it turns out, Dil is fine, B & I are fine, we all had a great time. No one got hurt, Dil can now tell his SoCal pals what it feels like to fly through the air with the greatest of ease
in the winter wilds of Montana. B can relive Dil’s close call, and all the close calls of
her kids and grand kids, and be thankful they’re all still alive and well today. And I can remember how I felt in that pink, breathless moment when Dil flew through the air with the greatest of ease…
he jumped up and waved, and I fell to my knees.

Actually, I was never worried. I’ve seen Dil survive moments like that on several occasions.
And so maybe I did experience a tense moment or two there… so what? I’ve got several
clean pair of long johns in the drawer. And besides, a little pee never hurt anyone.

Steve Hulse



Also, a little making light of a tense moment never hurt anyone either. Here’s a cartoon of the event which you might enjoy.

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