Snow falling in the dark…

I was walking on the street a few days ago, it was dark and I raised my head to see the white snow falling down against the blackness of the sky. It brought back memories from 20 years ago.

When I was about 10, I was a speek-skater. I would train 3 days a week: Tuesday and Thursday nights and Saturday mornings. Two days inside, in the rink, and one day outside, on the oval. Most speed-skaters are faster on the oval and like it better. There are less turns outside (proportionally for the same distance, as for, say, 400 m you will go around the oval once outside, but 4 times inside). But I was skinny, and what I lacked in strength, I made up for in technical skills. I was better than most at staying close to the blocks in the turns. Outside, there was less technical skill required, so I was at a disadvantage.

And there was the temperature and the wind. In Quebec City, in the winter, we were often freezing, and I get cold easily. So my skating sessions outside were not my favorite, even if Mom would often buy me a lollipop afterward. But there were a few magical moments. There were the medals, of course, and my short trips on the podium. But some moments were simpler and yet they are etched deeper in my memory.

Like the snowfalls. Some evenings, skating outside, I would finish a practice race, short of breath, happy to stand up after crouching down for 400, 800 or 1000 meters. And then, my hands on my hips, trying to catch my breath, I would look up at the sky. And see the white snow fall against the black backdrop of the sky. The snow falling on my head. And that made up for some of the pain.

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