4th grade rerun

9.

I’m in my 9th year in Portland. And it doesn’t seem quite right. I remember giving Joe his birthday present: 23 Reasons Joe Rocks oh, a couple of years ago. So how did he just turn 30? Nine years, really?

Ski LiftIf I take liberties with time (which I can as a writer in this moment) that puts me in 4th grade for the second time around. (In this second counting I’m a Libra, having been born in Portland Oct 15, 2000. And riding through the gorge near sunset was an amazing birth! But I digress.) Only now I don’t have to learn about dinosaurs or how not washing my hands after going to the bathroom counts against the 9th commandment, which is about sex and not cleanliness though you want to be clean to have sex. I still live across the street from a high school, and next door. I’ve seen their production of Our Town in their old gymnasium, which was more fun to perform in than to watch, and can safely ignore the quarter-till bell.

Time is fluid and dances. It does not walk.

Even today I take my snowboard to the mountain for day 7. It’s my first season and experienced skiers and boarders dart, zoom and zig zag gracefully and forcefully around me. In the whirlwind I easily lose track of what I’m doing. I’m heavy, catching all the edges, and embarrassed. I get up quickly from falls until I stomp my forehead down. I really wish I’d found the perfect helmet by now.

Fourth grade will rock my world. I will walk a short 2 blocks to the nearby school where I will be the youngest person in the building. My dad will court a woman who’s enrolled her 2 children in a rival town and school while she gets a divorce. I will start practicing how to disappear and get entangled in an emotional cancer that takes years to discover and diagnose. School is formal and a safe house that can never last too long. I will run fast and farther than the girls and some boys.

Multiple universes can co-exist in parallel or encased in each other.

Vista View

Starting out on the bottom can be tough, especially when only a short year ago you were at the top of another mountain/social structure/career. It can be helpful, then, to keep time and space fluid or shift your perspective. The bottom of a ski run may be the top/start of a smaller one. You can be 9 and 29.

On the mountain I remember to breathe. I shift my weight and lean into my boots and I can feel the ground again. Exhale the fear and turn gracefully. Inhale confidence and follow the curve back around. Exhale fear and turn on my toes. This is an incredible feeling!

And I wish I could report that was it. End of story. But that’s not how learning goes.

Soon I can sense the people flooding in around me, I’m aware of my speed and can only focus on one thing: how to slow down and I know this one. (Pick me! Pick me!) I fall spectacularly.

Nonetheless, I’m stoked. Fourth grade is going to rock the second time around.