Some things are hard to measure.
Mrs. Quigley of Sandy Cove told me a couple weeks after her hundredth birthday that inside she felt the same as she did when she was 16.
"Well maybe we should say 25," she corrected herself.
Still, quite a difference between her birth certificate and her heart.
This last week, I was cranky. Cranky and you know it, stomp your feet. I felt old.
I took off for the weekend, met up with some friends in the Wentworth Valley.
The mountains, like the shore, have always made me feel young.
My friends there are younger than me and much stronger skiers. Erica is 30 and grew up in Wentworth; Gregor is 40 and has skied almost 90 days so far this year. His goal like all true ski bums is to break 100 days.
I hadn't skied at all this year. I'm terribly out of shape compared to the days I too had reached the 100-day milestone. In the back of my mind I was worried—out of shape, old, I was going to hurt myself.
We hiked up the mountain together, skis on our back, sun on our faces. Before I knew it, we were on top of the Headwall looking down. Maybe we took more breaks to enjoy the view, had longer talks about the old times, but we made it.
I was standing on the steepest part of Wentworth about to make my first ski turns this whole year. The valley floor was 600 feet below us, the snow was crusty corn, with mini-crevasses dug out by run-off, with patches of mud and ice. Normally nothing to be scared of, but it had been a while.
I had stood in that spot a 1,000 times. Stood there when it was a sheet of ice and truly scary. I knew in such situations, I couldn't stand there long or the fear would weaken me.
I crouched and cringed into that first turn, practically in the fetal position ready to hurt. But my edge dug in, chatter chattered, my legs were moving like pistons on their own, extend, next edge, chatter chatter, extend and I was flying.
I am 16.
We skied all day, laughed all night like little kids, and the next morning, there was a foot and a half of snow on the ground. I couldn't have been happier.
I was giddy, probably 12-years-old foolish.
Snow you'd think would be easy to measure: 18 inches is 18 inches.
Some friends on the other hand were due to fly out to Jamaica that morning for a double wedding. I'm sure on that day they measured the snow differently than I did.
They were in an airport, I was at a ski hill.
Their foot and a half was not my foot and a half.
My 43 is not your 43. The numbers are meaningless.