Words by Julie - Living Life With Paralysis

A beautiful day

A beautiful day

It’s just a coincidence, but as I start to write U2’s A Beautiful Day started to play from the speakers over my head. How true. And it’s the reason that I decided to write, even though I said I was done. I felt the need, and not just because you said “what do you mean you are not writing any more?”

I guess I need the mood to “strike” me. Today it did. My lovely friend Annette, who I miss seeing each winter, explained how it made her feel to be up on the trails at Highlands Nordic today. How life can seem so grey and blah and then you get up there, the sun is shining, skis are on, trails are great, kids are having fun, and did I mention that the sun is shining? And you know what? Even when it snows and is crazy windy there is something in the air that makes the day, well, reinvigorating.

Sun on the trails today, yes, you see shadows, our eyes that are squinting? Sun. Glorious sun.

Tonight I have colour in my face, the first time in months. It’s like a breath of life was whisked into the deepest part of my brain. The part that seems to accumulate the negativity of everyday, grey, life. My soul?

I also got to see a lot of my coaching friends who I used to see all winter, now I am lucky to see once a year. They (the coaches) run the races as though they were all from the same school. All together, even though they are rivals, they work as one team, encouraging kids no matter what colour jersey they wear. I love it. I miss it.

Just part of my support team today.

I wanted to be able to see one of Ella’s races this year, and today was the only day I could do it. It’s thanks to my friend Gwen that I was even able to get there. It was a last minute decision, not sure how I’d manage. Were it not for her, I would have gotten out of my car in the parking lot and that’s likely where I’d still be. Stuck in the snow. And were it not for Symenn, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. What comes down, first has to go up.

I realize it’s not great quality, but you get the idea – push from behind and pull from in front.
I did this “hill” three times today, the last time was epic. Can I say that, or am I too old?

It was a fabulous day. I’ll be paying for it for the next few days, my triceps are going to be so very sore. I have no idea how para nordic skiers do hills. No idea. I wasn’t even trying to get up hills, as Ella said “maybe they were inclines…slopes?” But super fun on the way down – I knew my core would work for me, just making the turn. Symen was so cute – ready to catch the back of the sit ski before I landed in the creek. I had a very brief moment of hesitation, but it didn’t last. Too much fun 🙂

How I feel about today is so mixed up. I’m crying because I’m so happy and thankful for being able to do it, with the opportunity and the help of two. And then so very sad that I can’t seem to make it happen more often. Even on the crappy grey days I used to get out on my skis. Or my snowshoes when the roads were closed and I couldn’t leave the property. I’ve got to get to the point where I can can do that again. Before the grey days of winter consume me.

I’ll be back, Highlands. No pressure, Ella, but if my #1 reason to cheer is at OFSAA, I’ll see you (and you’ll hear me) then. #onceacoachalwaysacoach


  • Anja says:

    Awww. I think spending time with you was Symen’s highlight of the day!

  • Betty Shaw says:

    So great to see you today Julie – huge effort on your part and very much appreciated by all of us. You were awesome coming down that hill! Love you lots,

  • Sue says:

    So glad to read your two new blog posts!
    I was worried about you.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Val Hillinger says:

    Omygosh such a wonderful day you had! Sounds like you just have so many people in your court ! It is so true getting outside in the fresh winter air is life changing! So darn awesome that you were able to share this day with your people. You are so very inspiring. All the people in your life just have to so very proud of you. Wishing you more sunny days ahead💕

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