At 6:17 I wiggle into a seat aboard a 757 headed to Newark. In New Jersey I am to meet up with three teammates, a coach, and a serviceman, hop the pond to Stockhol, take a commuter to Kiruna, Sweden, then drive to Munio, Finland.
If only travel were to happen perfectly to script. Lost luggage, plane delays, and their near requisite doppelganger, missed connections, give opportunity to remind myself that life is ten percent wha happens to you and ninety percent how you react to it. Still, the sexiness of travel once presented to the public, is gone. Long since gone.
For the next three weeks I will live at a time of terminating daylight above the Arctic Circle. The memory of seeing the lemon yellow sun must suffice. The time to embrace living among domesticated reindeer, eating dense, dark bread topped with lingonberries and listening to Finnish love metal has arrived. It has been a slow train coming. Now the train is at the station. Now, the ski racing days are here.
For some reason it is somewhat awkward to admit, but just knowing I would be in Munio or Gällivare, Sweden or racing through the old-town streets of Dusseldorf, Germany later this December kept the engines of aspiration and resolve burning hot. Knowing that, on a none-too-distant Saturday the opportuity to race Jens Arne and Emil up the big hill of Kuusamo with a World Cup title on the line fills me with the most ebulliant of hopes.
But, alas, hope is not the same as experience. The time to just peek through the cracks or around the corner to glimpse boyhood ambitions is through. The time to tear back the veneer between thinking and doing, to bask in the afterglow of high achievement nears.