Love for One Day***Ice Fishing......Skiing, Part 2***
    We went on the frozen Venus Lake first.  There were a few people skating along its perimeter of the lake like condors or vultures, circling around and looking for their food.  My uncle Shroi and my aunt Tsuyako walked toward the center of the lake without fear.  After they picked the spot to fish, they opened chairs---sort of like beach chairs, but smaller---and started to make two tiny holes, about six inches in diameter, using a special saw.  They dropped the thread down in the water through the holes and waited patiently while sitting on the chairs.

    "Well, good luck on your fishing......Brrrr, it's too cold just to be sitting here.  Let us keep moving, we will be back in couple of hours."  My parents, my brother and I left the lake and walked toward the skiing area.

    This was not my first time in my life to ski, however, it usually takes a little while to get the hang back of how I did it last time.  Once my father and I rented the skiing equipment, we started walking up on the hill like two penguins by staggering skis.  My mother stayed with my brother who got a sleigh, instead of a pair of skis.  His sleigh was red, made with plastic and white rope was connected to it as a handle.

    There was a moment that I kept sliding down and felt like I wasn't going up at all.  Then I remembered the other method to go up by side way like a crab, paralleling the skis.

    "OK, Kyoko, let's practice.  Do you remember how to stop?  Always try to keep your skis in parallel and don't go too straight down on the hill, instead you can take a big zigzag path on the hill, alright?"

    I did take a big zigzag path from right side and shifted my direction slowly to the left and then shifted to the right, again.  I tried my very best not to fall because I remembered it was a big struggle to stand up once I fell on the hill.  The pair of long skis with a pair of stiff and heavy shoes didn't allow me to mobilize freely as I wanted to.  Fortunately, I didn't fall down this time.
    My father was also a beginner at skiing though he was generally very good at any sports, especially running. Swimming and skiing were seasonal sports which he didn't really get into.   He, too, came down the hill slowly without any problems.

    After we practiced climbing up and sliding down for couple more times, my father lighted his cigarette and said,

    "Let's take the ski lifts this time."

    "But dad, I don't think we are good enough."

    "We all learn from the experience and that's the only way we learn.  Remember the book, encyclopedia that we were just reading last night?  Lions drop their cubs of 3 days old from the edge of the cliff to see if they are strong enough to come back up.  We'll be strong by falling and rolling, so let's go!"

    When we are getting into the unknown, sometimes we are not so fearful at all.  My father and I hopped on the seat of the ski lifts together as if we hopped on escalators at the department store.  I saw my mother was waving her hands to us.

    "How are we going to get off from this lifts, dad?"  Remembering that I always had a problem getting on and off---especially off---from the escalators every time I went to the department store in our town with my mother. 

    "Just make sure you jump out before the lifts make turn to go back to the direction where we came from, otherwise you are going to be one lonely passenger of this ski lifts.  Skier won't going back down the piste by using the lifts."
    The ride must have been more enjoyable if I wasn't so worried about how to get off from the lift. Or maybe it was better that way because I didn't realize the killer slope and moguls ahead on the piste while going up.

    When the end of this ride was getting closer, my father helped me to measure the timing.

    "Ready?  One, two, three......there you go, jump!"

    I jumped and somehow managed to keep balance when I landed with oversized skis.

    "Are you ready?  Follow me!"

    First hundred yards were almost plain.  By using ski poles in our hands, we enjoyed slide-walking and my father was smiling and almost yodeling.  When his yodeling stopped, that was the end of the plain and I saw a horizon and suddenly we faced the steepest slope we had ever sen.

    "What are we going to do, dad?"

    ".....well, as we already know, we will take zigzag, right and left, OK? "  He slowly exhaled and made his first move toward the slope, and I followed him.  When we were skiing at the speed as slow as one mile per hour, many advanced skiers passed by us, splashing the snow to their right and left sides.  When they were not swishing, they sat low on their knees, placing their poles right beneath their under arms.

    "Dad, I think we look totally uncool."

    "Yeah, I agree, but don't give up.  Just visualize that you are one of those advanced skiers."

    The moment he gave me an idea, some shell of mine fell off and we both threw ourself on the slope.  Instead of going zigzag to focus on reducing the speed, we made a decision to speed up and only to shift our weight from right to left as we accelerated.  So many times we fell.  We were beat up.
    By the time we were in the distance that we could spot my mother who was at the skirt of the mild hill, we were skiing gloriously.  My cheeks were rosy and my father was yodeling again while placing his ski poles right beneath his arms and squatting.

    "We did it!  We did it!"


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Novel / Novella
writing SUKIE
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