“Eat,Share, Pray” Part 2 Italy
We all have something in our lives that we wish we had done. Years ago, I was offered a job teaching skiing for the spring season at Cortina, Italy. I turned it down and have always wondered what Cortina was like and what would have happened if I had taken that job. So I decided to enjoy my day off and drive from Graz, Austria to Cortina. A beautiful, sometime a bit scary ride through the Alps to arrive in the Dolomites. Wow!! There are not enough words to describe these unique mountains. Tantalizing, images of Avatar come into my mind as I drove through the windy mountain towns and saw the spires of rocks that lead me into Cortina. The Dolomites are considered one of the most spectacular mountain landscapes with their vertical shapes that have given rise to the name “dolomite landscape”. These are some of the largest rocks created from glacier and earthquakes, and some of the highest vertical calcareous walls in the world. The historic memories they must hold.
I could not wait to wake the next day to ski Cortina. As I boarded the first gondola,( it takes two to reach the base of the ski mountain); I was filled with respect and gratitude to the miracles of life, including these mountains. We climbed a huge wall of rock in the tram, I look around to see if others are as awestruck as I am. I realized many were local people enjoying some spring skiing and sharing their daily conversation. I could barely breath… we are so high in the air, scaling a wall of rock and I couldn’t imagine what the ski area would be like once we reached it.
As I left the tram, I had to just stand for 10 minutes to enjoy the views and catch my breath; I turned around to see everyone had left. I was alone at the base. I knew soon there would be another tram so I waited so I could follow some locals as I learned my way around Cortina. I skied just a short distance and found one of the chair lifts to the top. I was so thankful they had a safety bar. As the chair reached the “top” of the mountain, you have only a short distance to get off and turn or you go off a huge cliff. Yes, they do have a safety net there. but I would hate to see if it could really hold someone. I am on the top of the world! The trail is surrounded on one side by huge cliffs. I felt like a beginner. I couldn’t seem to ski freely; I was so taken by the views and the heights. I felt like I could just fly off the mountain. This was both so freeing and yet so scary too. I thought of labor, of having to move outside all you have known and trust. I stopped, took some deep breaths and decided this is how I had to ski. To let go, trust my ability and enjoy. Skiing has always been my other passion. It is my meditation time, time to think, to pray, and feel the power of nature. The Dolomites offered me yet another opportunity and challenge.
From my room, I see the mountains out my window and hear the church bells ring. This is a charming town, full of Italian culture, good food, wine, shopping and cafes. I sit and think of my great-grand parents who were both Italian born. The World Heritage Committee has officially included the Dolomites on the Unesco list of Universal Humanitarian Heritage, as they are considered one of the most attractive worldwide mountain landscapes. As I take them in, in all their majesty, the light of the day dances off them in shifting colors. They are a testament to time. To the great power of nature. They will be here forever.. But what about birth? Will undisturbed birth remain, will it be protected so that future generations can enjoy the challenges, face their fears and overcome them to have a powerful, pleasurable birth? As I glided down the mountain, I prayed that we will always have the opportunities to be challenged, to grow and to feel the power and our connection to nature in birth and in all aspects of our life.