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A Poem With Skiing as the Metaphor

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

This is a poem about Parkinson's Diisease that uses skiing as its metaphor.  I've attached explanatory notes.

Wiithout the notes, non-skiers seem completely lost.  So, I thought I would try posting it here.  Not exactly light,

but I couldn't figure out where it belonged (perhaps it doesn't belong here at all....but I wanted to at least try to

share it with people who might understand the terms used).





Facing Into The Fall



I am watching

from the lip

above a steep cornice

visualizing my body

facing straight down the hill,

falling into the turn.


But ahead I see a line

of shabbily dressed neurons.

They are disappearing,

one after another

over a ledge,

dropping into their last

no-fall zone.


I ski after them.

But I cannot watch.

My body hugs the mountain,


turning away.


Where is the cavalry?

Where is Doug Coombs?


There, among the rocks,


they stare at the sky,


Author notes


Poem prompt:  The Way Home - the path to truth.

 Facing down the hill in skiing - a metaphor for fearlessly facing the truth.

"body hugs the mountain" - a phrase used in skiing to describe feeling so much fear that your body is oriented backward toward the mountain (virtually guaranteeing a fall) rather than forward into a controlled fall downhill.

Doug Coombs - a famous extreme skier, known for the sheer beauty of his turns and his ability to read the mountain.  He lived into his 40's until he slipped in a no fall zone while trying to help a friend.  



post #2 of 5

Thanks for posting this poem.  It's more than a metaphor for me.


Ten years ago, I was skiing with my father at the end of the day down Gitalong Road, an easy green cat track that funnels into the Vail front-side village. He was a natural athlete and a strong advanced intermediate, one of those guys, who, if he had had the inclination or the opportunity to take a year or two off earlier in life and just work on his turns, would have developed into a superb skier.  But today he could barely make it down this cat track without falling. Finally, a couple of hundred yards from the bottom, he took of his skis, and we walked the rest of the way down.


He visited a neurologist when he returned home and received a diagnosis of Parkinsons. He was 76. I was so glad I was able to ski with him on what became his last run, and I am grateful he introduced me and my siblings to a sport that has become so important and such a source of renewal for some of us. He is still living with Parkinsons at age 86, and his level-headed courage in the face of the disease has been yet another gift to his family, a bittersweet one to be sure.


post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for posting this response Gnarlito.  I guess it is more than a metaphor for you!  I very much appreciate that you shared the story of PD's impact on your family.  "Level headed courage seems a good way of describing how your father has coped.


Thankfully skiing is a source of renewal for me also (not to mention its direct impact on my health; my neurologist would like it if I could ski year-round.)  She says I have many years left to ski (though someone may need to pin my own phone # on my ski jacket!)

post #4 of 5

Thanks for sharing . I am grateful for every day I stand a top a mountain and take that breath while surveying that line in the cold mornings. 


Ski Spirit is much more than an internet handle and you wear it well. 

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you GarryZ.  When I can stay focused in the present, I'm grateful for every moment. By the time one is diagnosed with PD, 80% of the neurons

producing dopamine (the chemical in your brain associated with feelings of happiness) have died. I first started showing PD symptoms at age 48 (Young Onset PD).  So, I don't think I have any dopamine of my own left (just that taken through medication).  That means I'm not always the happiest soul in the room.  Skiing has been one of my major ways of coping with PD.


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