A Mountain Dream
Marianne had always loved the mountains. There was something special about being so high up, surrounded by the splendour of all that perfect white, amidst by joyous laughter of tourists and the cheerful colours of ski suits. The freedom you get from a holiday in the mountains, the feeling of breathing again after coming up from being submerged: Marianne loved all of it.
Every year during her childhood her parents would organize a ski trip, always in Val Gardena, where as valued guests of the Hotel Tyrol, they would be pampered by the hospitality of the village and by the majesty of the place.
Each time, Marianne’s parents and siblings would reach the ski slopes and go down all happy and agile, some finding it easier, some more difficult, but all reaching the bottom with a big grin and their face still transfixed by the thrill of the adrenaline. Only Marianne stood there still every time, terrified by the thought of going down. There was something that frightened her, made her freeze, an insecurity, a fear and yet there was something she wanted even more: to conquer her fear and finally ski.
She continued to try, but without success. The years passed by and the family stopped going to the mountains, and so, with all her commitments, even Marianne stopped going to Val Gardena. But at night she dreamed of nothing but sliding down the white slopes and feeling the gliding of the skis on the snow, the wind against her face, the acceleration, and the freedom.
But, as you know, life is strange, and often takes you back to the starting point, to childhood, to happiness. Marianne is now sixty-five, has two grown children and a disastrous marriage behind her. Now that she is retired and has no more excuses, now that she has seen it all and more, she, who cried all her tears and won many battles, takes the first train to Gherdeina, back to the Hotel Tyrol just like when she was little, feels the smell of the kitchen and the firewood, and surveys the landscape from her dreams, and becomes like a girl again.
She takes the ski-lift and starts the ascent while all around skiers of all nationalities chat and make a pleasant hubbub, but Marianne no longer seems aware of the people: she closes her eyes and lets herself get carried along without thinking, swaying in the snow, to the right and then to the left, while around is only the white, the trees in the distance to be left behind, and a deep, peaceful silence, broken only by the crunching of snow under skis. Marianne finally manages to feel the curves and ups and downs, accompanying them with her knees and poles, but her pace is agile and graceful, just like she has wings on her feet. The descent is steep, the cold cuts her breath, and her heart explodes with joy and excitement as she laughs, she laughs madly as the other skiers watch, amazed, as she arrives at the valley.