North Star Resort
North Star Resort, North Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

I’ve always been attracted to things like flight. I scuba dive because I love that feeling of moving from strata to strata in the water as if I am a bird of prey. When I finally learned to snowboard, after fits and starts and broken bones; when I finally learned to let go, to spin, to embrace my speed; when I finally learned these things, I felt free. It was flight.

It’s been a few years since then, since the last run I took down that hill in Pennsylvania. It’s been a few years since I glided and spun, digging heels and then toes and then one opposite the other; together; moving my hips and my body into that shape that felt free. I wonder if I even imagined it could be the last time?

Things got busier. I traveled for work. I hurt my knee. They say it’s common as you get older. I spent the next winter away from the snow, feeling its call, a missing. The following winter I moved. Or — I moved in the summer before winter even began. I moved to a state where the weather was different. I moved, and I missed it, but I wanted him more.

I planned for my son. I knew it was hard. I knew that we needed to be situated. I realized that year I would never see snow, not again as a single person. And that was right. It was time to consider my family.

I found the snow again today. I found flight, and I’m spinning, and it all came back so easily. And I watch as the children go flying down the mountain, and everything feels empty. I would give anything to be sitting on the bunny slopes, towing a tiny sled, watching my son’s face as he tries to eat the mystery. These are memories I’m missing. These are things I’ll never know. My grief rises up and swallows me, and I hate that I am dancing.

I am gifted with abilities I no longer care to know. I don’t belong here anymore. I no longer yearn for flight.