Friday, January 08, 2010

Sledding Down The Hill On Backpacks

On the mornings of two hours delays, my childhood friend and I would bound out the kitchen door of my home, setting off for the 15 minute trek to school. Giggling would ensue at our snow pants that wooshed with each step, the heavy boots on our feet, the furry hats with ear flaps that tied under our chins. Our teasing and taunting each other muffled by the scarves wrapped tightly around necks two or thee times covering our nose and mouth.

Walking down my hill was no easy feat. The bulkiness of our snow attire gave us funny waddles as we attempted to maneuver ourselves ever so carefully down the steep terrain, shuffling along in the middle of the road between the tire tracks. It was always better to walk between the tire tracks because powered snow was better for traction than the packed down ice that would be peaking through the grayed cinders. Inevitably, one or both of us would always veer off to the left or right, our feet catching a patch of ice that would send us sliding.

One morning, the two of us decided that if we were going to slide down the hill, we might as well do it in style. At the crest of the hill, out of sight from the kitchen window I knew my mom watched us from, she and I would plunk our backpacks on the ground, one in each slick tire track. Settling ourselves down and tightly gripping the arm straps, with a few kicks of our legs we would fly down the hill. The ice glistening in the morning sunlight, trees and neighborhood houses swiftly passing our peripheral vision the two of us would tumble into a laughing heap at the foot of the hill. Our new found method of travel shaved minutes off our walk and was incredibly much more fun. A favorite childhood memory was born, often repeated every single snow delay day for the rest of my elementary school career. Those simple carefree child-like moments seem like a lifetime ago.




This week I've been distracted from everyday life and my heart has been heavy as I learned that a dear blogging friend's courageous battle with cancer is, in all likelihood, coming to an end. For the past eight months she has fought like hell with an unparalleled grace for the sake of her husband, five year old son, parents, sister, and niece. My prayers for healing have since turned to prayers of comfort and peace. My heart is breaking for her family.

Looking out the window tonight with tears in my eyes, I can see that very same hill with fresh tire tracks running through the newly fallen snow. I'm tempted to find a backpack, walk to the crest of the hill then simply sit down and slide recapturing that free feeling of rushing down the hill without a care in the world.

I can almost hear the vinyl against the icy concrete and the sound of childhood laughter hanging in the chilled air.

16 comments:

jnyfritz said...

go and find the fastest looking backpack you can and make a few trips down the hill! sending you comforting thoughts!!

quarter-life lady. said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your friend. I pray for comfort and peace to her and her family...and to you as well.

Elle Bee... said...

Oh darling, I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

What a great story about the hill and the backpacks... we used to take "breaks" in university to go tobagganning down the giant hills sans tobaggans -- we used garbage bags with a hole cut in for the head and went down the hill like penguins!

Stacy said...

The sincerity of this post gave me goosebumps. Thank you for sharing this...Sending you hugs via the interweb.

Kyla Roma said...

Oh my goodness... who is your friend? This is so sad & you are so genuine.

Little Fish said...

Oh Mandy, I am so sorry to hear about this. Sending you lots of love!!!!!!!!

SoMi's Nilsa said...

Oh, how I'm sorry to hear about your friend. It's never easy to say goodbye.

walkingwithnora.com said...

Such a beautiful post about all aspects of life.

Continuing to send prayers for your friend and her family as she continues her battle.

... it probably wouldn't hurt to find a backpack to slip and slide down the tracks.

Sending you hugs & comforting thoughts during this difficult time, friend.

Pam said...

Another beautiful post Mandy. I am so very sorry to hear about your friend. Sending peace, love and hugs your way.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. That is just heartbreaking. Sending thoughts & prayer their way.

Beautiful story - the imagery was spot on - I felt like I was there! What a great childhood memory!

gemmy from the block said...

so sad about your friend.
=(

amanda said...

hugs and kisses!

i am sending warm wishes to your friend...as well as to you, mandy.

your writing always gives me such peace, so i'm hoping peace finds you.

xxxx

Frank said...

Quite possibly one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.

I've never tried sledding on a backpack before, but my elementary school was nice enough to keep a bunch of sleds available for use on the hill behind the school during recess...so many awesome memories.

Auburn Kat said...

At difficult times like these, it is good to think back to a time when life was a lot easier...

Let me know if you need anything.

Bayjb said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. It's such a bittersweet situation. Sending you a big hug and lots of positive thoughts.

rachel elizabeth said...

this was so beautiful and so sad at the same time. i'm so sorry about your friend.