So many years have passed now, twenty four exactly, since the day my life was almost taken away from me.
There have been many things I couldn't do anymore after the injuries to my body. Doctors told me long ago I had to give up many of my activities, but I proved them wrong.
The beginning of the year started with a few amazing experiences, that my body was never challenged to try in the last 24 years.

I used to be a very courageous skier. My parents sent me to skiing lessons at the age of five. I
can indeed say I was able to ski before spelling.

In my teenage years I used to do mountain ski with my uncles and mostly male friends on the most outrageous descends of the beautiful Maddalene mountain. Of course the descend was always coming after a long and strenuous uphill walk with mountain ski on our feet.

I am the one in the middle, age 19.

We would start Saturday afternoon to go up the mountain, and sleep in a hut with a precious fire place to keep us warm. Early morning we would go up to the top. To prepare for the descend we would remove the leather below the skis, and there we were, flying free on the virgin snow.
No one who skis only on the commercial slopes can never understand the power and intensity of skiing in solitude or with a few friends on uncontaminated snow. No trace of humans. There is nothing like that! The feeling of the mountain wrapped around you, the beauty of nature, the inner joy to be one with everything!!
A few years after the accident, I went skiing again. Not mountaineering skiing, just "normal" down the slope where everyone else was. The impact of that moment is still vivid in my memory. I thought I had to give up skiing forever. Doctors told me I couldn't do it anymore. But there I was, on my own, flying free down the Brenta mountain group. It didn't matter to me there were so many tourists and people all around me. I was having "my first time" again. In that I felt very alone. Happy to be alone!!

Breakthrough on ice
Now, on the same lake where in September I celebrated my wedding, I had a breakthrough on ice. I took it as a meditation. With Driek, Lorena and Sabina helping me, I put on the rigid shoes of the skates and moved my first step on our beautiful Lago Smeraldo.
In a moment I was back at being 21 years old. That was last time I skated. I felt insecure but more because of the constant pain in my legs then my skills. The style was immediately there.
I realize how amazing it is to have a body that still keeps learning and re-learning.
I wonder how many people feel the gratitude for the feet they are walking on, for the freedom to be able to walk, dance, bend and turn, laugh and cry in the mystery of each moment, where being in your body means being in the now. So much we take for granted from our body. And it could be over in a moment. It was over for me for a very long time. It took me years to be able to do many things I used to not even think about it. Years of determination, discipline and a sense of wonder. And years of enduring pain, though never giving up the possibility to improve.

Skating on the 30th of December 2007 was one of them. It felt like a miracle, it felt a sweet deep joy, it was a gift of God. To experience those precious moments on my battered legs with my friends at my side was more then I could wish. The sense of wonder and amazement never left me. I give it to myself for the incredible determination and strength I have in my life for never giving up on anything, and especially the love for myself.

The other big adventure still was to come.
For many years, every 6th of January a great competition takes place in the village of Fondo, my village: La Ciaspolada.
I never participated in one of them. It has been ages since the last time I was there on the 6th of January, and I also never wore snowshoes. I was a mountain skier!
I decided this year I would do it and bring Driek and Lorena along with me. What the heck, they are healthy and fit, they can't complain.
La Ciaspolada is a long walk of 6.2 km along the fields of Romeno to Fondo, where you can view the Brenta group and the top of the Maddalene with my beloved mount Luco.
When you wear snowshoes you walk not exactly the same way as with shoes. The hips and pelvis are more under pressure, you keep your legs slightly open so for my poor knees and ankles it is very challenging, but easier then skating. You do feel a bit like a duck or should I say like a goose? (for those who know what I mean).

Below is a photo at our departure, together with 4.500 other participants. The participants in the competition left 3 minutes earlier and ran all the way. We left walking easily.

I was determined to have fun, going at a good slow pace, having a chat with Lorena, allowing Driek to do his photos and foremost I wanted to take this new challenge with my characteristic warrior attitude as a deep inner meditation. By that I mean watching myself walking along, having an inner prayer of gratitude, feeling the powerful breakthrough I was experiencing and let it reach deep into my soul. As it turned out, it was much more powerful then any of the induced meditation I had in my time with Miracle of love.

Below I am in white, waiting for the other two.

The line (2)

Lorena was not exactly having an easy time. But we didn't have an agenda to be faster or to prove something to anybody. We were there to do this journey together, taking care of our needs. On the contrary of what I thought, that I would be the one to be rescued, was my darling sister of heart needing my hand. This is one of the beauty of our deep friendship. We are always there for each other anytime we need.

My angel always by my side even and especially in the mountain.

We made it. Although the sun was not shining I found the day shining with inner glory.
Silver clouds reflecting on the snow, blurring at time the view of the path,
an atmosphere of magic, of wonder, of sense of belonging to mother earth,
of gratitude for the gift of being alive.

The arrival in the square of Fondo, photographed by our friend Bruno.

We made it. Tired but very fulfilled .
What a blessing being alive!

How sweet is to feel the tiredness in the body
how tender is the heartbeat that sings in silent joy,
how amazing is the grace to be in the moment
never stop wondering
how fulfilling is the peace in your mind
where only your breath
reveals its secrets to you

On the 8 of January 2008 on my 24th anniversary I was resting in my bed back in Amsterdam with fever and a cold, with a deep peace and tranquility in my heart, giggling at the incredible new chances I had the opportunity to make mine in the last two weeks. And grateful for all the amazing adventures I had the pleasure and the pain to have in the last 24 years.

Quante volte sei rinata, tesoro mio? Da quel giorno, moltissime io credo.. continua così, continua a celebrare la vita su questa terra.
How many times did you take birth again my darling? From that day, many times ...I believe...keep going like this, keep celebrating life on this earth. Lorena

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