SITTING AROUND watching winter sport on TV the other day, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the skiers, and especially the women cross country skiers, and especially the youthful one from Sweden with the gems of eyes and tuffs of hair (and freckles and charisma). What a striking beauty. You know, when she reaches the finish line, pulls off the hat, sweat all over, glistens in the sun. It’s like the raw sugar juice off a maple. Then I thought, there are so many other women in this world. Not just the ones across the street, or the ones down the lane, or the ones up around the bend. There are so many of them, and they are all so different, and they are all so interesting. I redoubled my own efforts to ski cross country in the meantime, because I was never instructed as to how. At the ski shop, I learned my own were the wrong length. I had almost no idea what I was doing, but have done it anyhow. I had them waxed. It was time to become more real about it. I probably owe a small part of that edge over the edge to seeing others devote themselves. A lot of clarity comes from rote physical exertion. It burns off the worries, thoughts, trauma. There is peace in it. The peace of the winter. I am grateful to her now that I think of it. I’m grateful to that svensk athlete. She gave me a piece of my life back.