I follow the children down the mountain, swooshing slowly from side to side in a gentle run, all the better to admire them. How did they become so elegant, so effortless, in their graceful carve down and round and down to the bottom? Only a few short years ago I despaired that they would ever get down the bunny hill in one go, and now they pass me in a confident arc and a buzz of laughter and conversation.
We were up in the Laurentians last weekend as Val Saint Come, and the day was magificent. Minus 16, said Erik, checking the weather forcast at 7 am. Great day for snowboarding! And it was. The sun shone all day, the snow was crisp with just enough powder and no ice, and the mountain was relatively quiet.
We ride up together, enjoying the feel of the air as we get higher up. It changes the sound. It's as if everything is amplified. We pause at the top to admire the view - the forest which stretches out to all sides, ad the clear vastness of the sky. Then we are off, down through the dark stand of trees, across the sparkling path of snow. Sometimes we ski and board down together, conversationally. Other times the children and Andrew - filled with adrenaline and competance - leave me behind in their wake.
Left to my own devices, I enjoy my own time on the hill. Admiring them as they vanish with laughter, knowing they will wait for me at the bottom. I take my time, composing poetry in my head as I make broad sweeps of the mountain, listening for the scrape of the ski edge as I turn, following the carve of those who have gone before me down this same stretch of mountain.
There are diamonds underfoot, and I want the run to last forever. I could ski down forever at this pace, but it's blue dusk and the last run. As I reach the bottom, gliding to a halt beside pink cheeks and glowing eyes, I look forward to the next time.