Friday, Feb. 10, 2023 @ 8:14 am
Tree vs Face
I skied directly into the tree.
I saw the tree in front of me, and I don’t know why I didn’t turn to avoid it. I made a mistake, I guess, and there was no time to make a correction.
The accident didn’t happen in slow motion for me, as these types of things can often seem. The tree came towards my face quickly, and I let it happen. I saw all of the details of the wood, the moss, the textured bark, and I let my face slam directly into the solid trunk.
At impact, I felt an explosion of burning cold. I breathed in the fragrance of broken conifer bark, the inner resin of the tree and waited to feel pain. I reversed away from the tree, pulled my bare hands from my glove, and pressed my pale palm to my face. Blood, bright red, on my hand. I look down, and blood was dripping into my Gore-Tex.
I couldn't tell if it’s bad. There was blood, and my face felt numb. I thought I was okay, but then why was there blood?
I skied up to the others who were waiting for me on the other side of the glade.
“I skied into a tree,” I report. “Can you look at my face and tell me how bad it looks?”
The damage wasn't bad, but it’s also was not great. Blood streaks on my face. I could feel swelling around my nose and cheeks and several distinct abrasions. On the chairlift, I broke a piece of rime from the metal chair and applied it to my face for the duration of the ride. There was nothing to be done about the blood that stained the front of my jacket.
I went into the office the next day and presented at a large team meeting. The abrasions still raw, and bruising blooming around my nose. I explained my story, but I noticed looks of skepticism
I went to my ski lesson. When I arrived, Gregg, a co-instructor, exclaimed, “ What happened to your face?”
How easy it is to observe this trauma. Right there on the surface, evidence of something going terribly wrong. This trauma will heal in a week, and it won’t leave anything behind.
Imagine a world where our deeper, private traumas were observable, available for an offering of support or assistance.
Hey there, I see that you’re hurt. What can I do to help?