Thursday, January 16, 2014

The lesson of the sled

This is my sled. Sure, it's a holiday decoration *now*.  When I was a kid, it was my ticket to ride. To fly.

My sisters and brothers and I would drag our sleds about a quarter mile from our house to sled down a steep hill. Mini-mountain might better describe it. Sometimes at the bottom, we'd build a snow ramp so we'd catch some air (though we didn't call it that in those days, the term wouldn't be invented for decades to come).

We'd sled for HOURS. Pull the sled uphill, legs burning, until we reached the top. Take a moment to survey the slope, then position ourselves on the sled and *whoosh*. Down in much less time than it took to climb that hill.

But we kept doing it over and over and over. Because view from the top was so spectacular, made even better because we knew the thrill was coming. The trip down gave us such a rush. We didn't complain about the hill being too steep because that was the point of it - the higher the hill, the better the ride.

Nor did we complain about our sleds being too heavy - about 25 pounds by my husband's estimate. It must have been taller than I was. It stands up to my shoulder now. These days when I pull it out of the basement to set it outside, I always think 'Wow, this is heavy. How the heck did I manage to use it when I was a girl?'

For one, in the Sixties, the Flexible Flyer sled was probably state of the art, lol. And because when we're kids, there's a clearer goal ahead - the fun. Words like "impossible" held no place in our worlds because we challenged everything and turned impossible on its head.

And it was so worth it.

I admit, at some point years later, we traded in these heavy runner sleds for the plastic saucer-type. But it wasn't quite the same. Maybe I'd outgrown the whole thing, or thought I did.

Not hard to guess how this applies to writing. Just do the work for the prize at the end, and because you love it - ups and downs alike.

I put the sled back in the basement until next winter, but I'll try to keep the lesson fresh all year.

The best part is, I'll never stop writing.

How about you?


Maria Zannini said...

That's a lesson that can be applied to all facets of life.

We had a hill like that at a city park in Chicago. I didn't know until years later that my (future) husband used to sled down that hill too. For all I know, we probably met on that slope only to re-meet again many years later.

Cate Masters said...

My grandboys remind me of that lesson every day, luckily. :)

That's incredible, Maria. It had to be fate!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

As kids, we don't recognize the word impossible. We just do it. I think we often forget that as adults.
Nice sled! Cool that you still have it. We used to go sledding all the time when I was a kid.

Cate Masters said...

Exactly, Alex :)

Donna Hole said...

I did lots of things as a kid that I now wonder how I managed.


DMS said...

Awesome lesson! The connection you made between sledding and writing is perfect.

I used all kinds of sleds growing up, but my favorite was a sled just like yours. I went sledding about ten years ago and was amazed at how much harder the walk of the hill seemed- even though it should have felt easier since I was older and stronger. Maybe not! :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Wow, Cate, I have tears in my eyes. My sled wears a ribbon at Christmas just like yours. I have the same wonderful memories of hours climbing the hill and building ramps with my brothers and sisters. How did we survive without breaking most of our bones. In writing the hills are steep sometimes, but the ride is worth it.

Chris said...

Hi Cate, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

Cate Masters said...

Me too, Donna, lol

Doesn't it make you wonder, Jess? As kids, we're like superheroes - impervious to cold and can carry heavy stuff all day. Why can't we do that now? lol

So true, Susan. :)

Thanks much, Chris!