Flying into Christmas
If you could have any superpower what would it be? Mine would definitely be the ability to fly. To be able to soar high above the world, away from all the mad happenings of life, to float and whizz through cotton wool clouds, to dance high with the stars and shoot across the sky like a meteor. What a feeling!
So what have all these thoughts of flying made me think about? Not flying in a plane, that's too obvious, although I do absolutely love that feeling of getting up speed on the runway followed by the stomach lurching whoosh as the plane lifts off. No, not being in a plane, not even my experience of gliding. What did I think of? Skiing!
Now I know skiing is not really flying but, trust me, at times it feels very close. The Schilthorn, which is the start for the worlds longest downhill ski race - the 'Inferno' - is the perfect place to 'fly', following in the skis of James Bond (well sort of - this is where some of 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' was filmed). There's plenty of tourist stuff at the top for those who are interested.
I really enjoyed whooshing down the mountain, speed building and building until, aaah relaaaax, it all opened out into lazy wide slopes where you cannot help but float down the hillside easing into a rhythmic glide, turning, twisting, swaying to and fro, carving easy trails through the snow.
These wide, low gradient pistes are also the perfect place to try out synchronised skiing. Eh? You what? Synchronised skiing?! I thought that too when it was first mentioned to me, but it's a truly wonderful thing, like dancing on the snow, a multitude of people turning together, criss-crossing and leaving intricate patterns behind. Even better with music to glide to.
And there is nothing, just nothing like being the first person to 'spoil' that newly smoothed-out piste early in the morning, or carving the first trail through fresh powder off-piste like a true pioneer off on adventure. Whoosh! Swish! Snow spraying out in glittery clouds of ice, glinting in the early morning rays. How pleasing it is to make tracks in virgin snow.
Then of course, sometimes you really do fly on skis. It has been known for Susan to hurtle straight off the marked runs landing in a splodged out heap of person and skis. This example wasn't too traumatic and I seem to have avoided turning into a snowman:
However, this is not what I'm talking about. Have you ever tried out the rollers in a snow park? Such fun (oh, I sound like Miranda Hart's mum...)! Up and down, up and down, rolling gently, gathering speed, and on the last bump - wahay! WE GET AIR! Look, Susan's at least half a foot off the snow! Again again!
This does take some practice of course. The amount of times I jumped then landed in a heap my skis having slid halfway down the slope. But oh, the first time you get that perfect landing, all the bruises are sooo worth it.
Have you ever seen the professionals flying downhill at ridiculous speeds? On the Lauberhorn run in Switzerland - the longest race in the ski world cup - they jump and soar over a big rock ledge only to land miles down the slope and carry on at breakneck pace. Now they properly fly. When I was skiing in the area of course I just had to have a go. Mind you, rather than flying down I simply cruised on by gradually descending onto more sensible gradients to get up speed. Less broken bones that way. It still felt amazing knowing that I was following in the tracks of world class professionals, even beginning on the official starting block! I think my time was a tad longer than the experts though. Here I am descending the top part of the Lauberhorn (the easy bit):
But skiing is so much fun however fast or experienced you are. Getting up speed on the slopes, whooshing and swishing from side to side, crouching low and bombing down the steeper runs, plunging over 'the wall' trying to resist the knee-buckling forces. Or simply gliding serenely through quiet forest trails the silent snow gathering on pine scented branches, followed by yummy apple strudel in the chalet at the bottom. Mmmmmmm...
There's really so much adventure to be had on the slopes. Even if you can't ski, try sledging, using a bum board or even sitting on a plastic bag and sliding. I found hurtling down an empty ski slope on a survival bag while trying to avoid the icy river, ice axe in hand for emergencies, quite exhilarating! Ha! Fab way to say goodbye to your overnight accommodation (aka a snowhole).
And because I can't help taking pictures of mountains wherever I go:
So flying, what an amazing way this would be to escape the busyness of Christmas. To float up and away from it all, seeing the world from a totally different perspective. Your personal landscape becoming part of a much bigger picture spreading out before you while the annoyances and difficulties of life diminish amongst the grandeur of it all. Although we may not be able to really fly, there have been plenty of non-skiing moments where I've definitely come close to it. For example, I've simply stood on a mountain top or sat on a ski lift looking, reflecting, being still and feeling that little bit closer to Heaven. These kind of moments regularly make me feel like I'm soaring up there on eagles wings (Isaiah 40:31) and often leads to my running, jumping or dancing for joy on a hillside! This Christmas, whatever is happening, why not try to get a moment or two to be still, to get away from the busyness, and maybe you'll begin to believe you can fly too! And Heaven, well that's what it's all about isn't it? At this time of year we're reminded that Jesus Christ came to inhabit our world, to live among us spreading joy, peace and love. Rather than us having to fly up to Heaven, He came down to Earth in human form to meet us exactly where we are. Praise God for that!
Wishing you a blessed, peaceful and joyful Christmas.