The things I carry: by Christina Rosalie

Today I carry the feeling that I’ve slipped right back to the cusp of more things not being known than things that are for certain. I am carrying the way the light looks over the pacific ocean in the morning at Bodega Head, and a homesick feeling for my fathers hands; for the way they were always warm and skilled with tools, knobby knuckled like mine, mottled with vitiligo.

I carry a secret awful wonder at what my DNA might hold for me, and a list of appointments including one at the dermatologist’s to investigate a small hard lump on my thigh that arrived without my notice sometime in the summer, and then persisted. My regular doctor shrugged. More than likely benign. Still, a referral was made, and then one appointment after another, cancelled to make room for other more urgent things.

I carry my wedding band of soft hammered gold; a hair band around my wrist, snarled with a few tangled strands of hair yanked free from a ponytail with impatience; and the memory of my tenth birthday.

I carry my father’s SANFORD LOGO II mechanical pencil; my soft-covered Moleskine reporter’s notebook; and an ache for what I know I will forget of the way Sprout is right now, small like this, speaking with a little lisp, repeating everything, begging for a convertible blue vintage VW like the one our neighbor drives. His hair is sandy gold in the sun. Potty training is a comedy of errors and stubbornness. He gives the sweetest kisses, one arm circling my neck. How will I hold all of this in the permeable container of time?

Today I carry the sight of geese cutting across the pale morning sky, one after the next; the first inklings of a second book; ideas for classes I’m planning. I carry the way comparisons always make me feel terribly small; the fact that my jeans are tighter than they were when the summer; and the muscle memory of running hard (today, 3 miles.)

Today I carry the memory of quiet; my cup of coffee; the rooster crowing; my laptop; kindling; honey crisp apples; and questions, always questions.

What do you carry?

The art of falling down: by Christina Rosalie

I crossed the first item off my 34 before 34 list this weekend: snowboard blue squares, and it felt amazing. They were my last two runs on Sunday. The light was golden and the shadows long and blue across the trail, and it was just me and my board and the snow and random strangers hurtling down at improbable speeds around me. And I did it: carving my way back and forth in a brilliant, precarious, unlikely upright angle, slanting and turning, all the way down, and this is what struck me about the whole process: that becoming something or learning something is always this crazy, amazing, awkward process.

Falling is awkward (and painful) and it isn't something you can skip. You can't fast forward learning. You can't overcome fear by skipping fear itself. You can't avoid falling by not falling. You've got to be in it: messy, face planting, laughing, crying, doing it all over again.

The best thing about riding the lifts is getting a glimpse at a bigger picture. When you're on the ground, your perspective is narrow. You + snow. You think you're the only one, maybe, to every wipe out this horrifically. To skid into the drift at the edge of the trail; to splat off the lift like you don't know how to stand. You collect yourself quickly, looking around, laughing self consciously. But from the air it's all different.

From there you can see: everyone is falling. Even the show-offs. Even the brilliant ones for whom snowboarding is like flying. They know that falling = learning. Falling = risking. Falling = facing fear.

This is true for everything, not just this new obsession of mine. It's true for writing; for making art; for asking for what you want; for extending your reach; finding your voice.

When was the last time you gave yourself the opportunity to fall?