Downhill

“You’re my hero!” I call out to Ondrej -Zuzana’s brother- as I see his colourful appearance approach on his snowboard. He slides in zig zag, then just stands on his board legs open as if floating over the white road. He stops right in front of us. In the past half hour, I have made my first attempts to slide and brake. My capoeira past seems to support me in the quest to master this board.

It’s the first time I spent Christmas and New Year’s with Zuzana in Slovakia. People here ask about the differences in the way they celebrate. For what I’ve seen, there aren’t many. Perhaps the timing and the duration of the diners varied a little, and we never do a prayer before diner, nor do we go to church. The language of course. No, I’ve been in some Christmases around the world, and they all look alike. Family. Friends with New Year’s eve. Mine were far away.

After the short class by Kata -Zuzana’s sister- , we walk up the mountain with Fero, the dog. We arrive at a place with a spectacular view on clouds with mountain peaks rising out. A clear blue sky. Dark green pine trees are loosely distributed over the slope. A thick white blanket of snow covers the scene.  I practice once more on a lesser slope uphill, then feel confident enough to whoosh down this one without ending up in a tree. I never expected to take such a cool and long slope. I instantly get the addiction to this sport.  Fero joyfully makes his way through the snow behind me. Down, I stop in front of a little stream. Silence is only interrupted by a breeze. Snow falls off a tree to my left. Then of another in front of me. Then to the right. Silence again.

The ancient Greeks believed that the reason a stone always ends up downhill is that it follows its destiny. It’s 2014 now. It might become a year of big changes. Whatever lies in store, I feel as if it will find me soon. But not before I take another slide down this hill. Isn’t ending up at our destiny all we can ultimately do?

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