– Lip Wax –
The ski ‘commute’ to our jewelry studio is a favorite activity of mine and well suited to the ‘work and play’ lifestyle I adore. The ski route is 5 miles long, rustic and includes every type of terrain one would expect in a rural Vermont landscape.
One sub sub-zero morning, I skied the first mile of dense forest, grateful for a blanket of new snow. Open farmland ahead would undoubtedly leave me exposed to merciless wind and temperatures.
Skiing to the edge of the forest, I stopped to tug down my hat and cover exposed skin before slipping under the hemlock branches and out into open farmland.
The wind stung my face and I realized too late I had not applied any lip balm. With thick mittened hands I patted the outside of my clothing searching for the familiar shape of a tube but found nothing.
I knew there was a barbed wire fence spanning a hollow up ahead, so I kept skiing and hoped I would find something in my backpack when I reached it.
Learning to cross fences on skis had become a personal challenge of mine as my commute had four of them and I hated to remove my skis if I didn’t have to.
Skiing knee deep powder to the bottom of the hollow, I removed my pack and threw it wide over the fence, then used my skis to stomp a quick platform. I paralleled the skis close to the fence and carefully raised the inside one up and over to the other side.
With both skis safely over the fence, I squatted out of the wind and reluctantly removing one mitten, pawed through the pack looking for lip balm, chap stick, anything to protect my lips.
At the bottom of my pack I felt a ziplock bag of old ‘Swix’ stubs and cork left over from my wax able ski days.
Pulling a gnarly blue stub from the bag, I peeled back its thin metal sheath with my teeth and held the exposed wax to my mouth where I hoped my breath would soften it a bit. It did not. Hoping some would rub off anyway, I dragged and blotted the rock hard tube across my cracked lips.
Unyielding as it was, the hard surface did seem to be depositing bits of wax on my lips and that seemed better than bare skin.
I felt pretty resourceful as I gathered my things and began to ski up and out of the hollow.
As I reached the edge however, the wind slammed against my face and turned the industrial ski wax to stone. I could not close my lips and a thin, wide smile carved across my face like marble.
It was a long ski to work that day as I stopped often to cup a mitten opening over my mouth and soften my face again and again.
Sandra Dee Owens likes to play. Whether designing hand made jewelry, something the 5th generation Vermonter has done for 32 years, playing with her grand kids or commuting to her studio on skis… this self proclaimed ‘Funologist’ never really came in from recess. You can browse and purchase Sandra’s beautiful creations on her website at Silverwear Jewelry Design.