Moonlight skis

When I remember father it’s mostly his vicious temper, when the weight of the world ready to cause an outburst, his fits of rage in front of the television. His screams heard was by neighbours, and I often bent my head in shame. But there are other things I remember even more, the sound of skis cutting fresh snow, the full winter moon blue. A sheen to dim the stars. The way the branches weight from snow.

He had been working late, and came out long after darkness fell. We had winter-break from school, and me and my sister spent a winter holiday alone. After a brief meal he asked me if I wanted to take a short ski-tour. “The moon is full”, he said. I nodded and we took our skies. They were freshly tarred, and the snow was cold. We skied over lakes on ice and snow. The snow glistened, saphired by the moon.

The morning after it thawed and I cannot recall that we ever skied together again, yet whenever I see the full moon on snow I hear my father’s voice. “Let us ski tonight”.

zig-zag traces —
a young hare escaped
the cunning fox

Untitled (Two Rabbits, Pampas Grass, and Full Moon) by  Hiroshige

Untitled (Two Rabbits, Pampas Grass, and Full Moon) by Hiroshige

Today Thotpurge is guest again inspiring us with haibun Monday at dVerse. She shares some wonderful poetry relating to the moon. Come share your moon writing.

March 14, 2016

50 responses to “Moonlight skis

  1. This is wonderful, Bjorn, the more so because you show us both sides of your father. I am glad you have that one beautiful memory. An awesome write.

  2. As a poet, your vault of personal memories seems inexhaustible. This piece is so very vivid, regional, & emotional, leaving me with both sadness & joy; relationships with a father are so critical for one’s future development–I wish I had known my father.

  3. You have given a vivid picture of the two sides of your father, Bjorn. I am glad that, amidst the painful memories of your father, you also have the magical memory of skiing by the light of the full moon!

  4. The haiku says it all. Unfortunately, so many children have a parent (or parents) whom they spend the rest of their lives “running away from” or trying to escape. Memories can be more tormenting than the actual experiences. I think the “zig-zag” is especially potent, as the little boy inside of you goes back and forth between loving him and trying to get away from him or fearing him. I had a verbally violent father, abusive in various ways and a passive-aggressive mother. But I still love them both to pieces. My biological father was a madman — a deviant sociopath; I never really knew him, but I still love him as well. No matter who our parents are or how they break us down, they are part of who we are.

    I’m quite enamored of the way the moon “sapphired” the snow. How beautiful.

  5. Oooh, that haiku as the climax of your story gave me the chills. In most relationships, there are such divergent memories. In fiction they would call that a rounded character. And so we all are.

  6. Children absorb inexplicable moments, some tender, some not, and they’re all retained as if carved into the their bones. It’s the same for all children.

  7. Parents can have their terrible moments, many of them seem to be made of terrible moments… But when their true goodness comes to shine, when they show us why we end up forgiving most of the raging, oh those times are pure magic.

    Your poem says so much about your relationship with your father, and how you related to him. There is sense of unease, but not fear… Just a feeling that says that any nonsense will be dealt with. Still, under all that thunder, you two have the snow, the moon, and skiing.

  8. Now I seem to recall my father having a terrible temper as well ~ But now that he is old & ailing, he is much more tempered ~ I love the personal portrait of your father Bjorn, and that memory of skiing together ~ I love the description of that night:

    the sound of skis cutting fresh snow, the full winter moon blue. A sheen to dim the stars. The way the branches weight from snow.

  9. Writing anything here feels pointless, everyone already said what I wanted to yet here is my broken record piece: the verse at the end gives such an in depth encirclement of your story. I really appreciate reading it because it is not always lucrative to share/read something that is touching and personal.

  10. Oh the contrasts a child has of their parents – and how we as adults let loose of who and what we really are – obviously, skiing helped your dad capture himself back a bit. Glad you have this (and I’m sure) many more good memories… Beautiful write.

  11. Wow Bjorn…that sounds like it just poured out from somewhere deep inside. It’s always humbling when someone shares a personal experience. Very moving.

  12. I have similiar feelings about my father, and similar memories – not of skiing, but rare moments where we felt comfortable with each other. The haiku is stunning. And I love “sapphired by the moon.” Wonderful scenes of skiing… beautifully done.

  13. I like the juxtaposition of your father’s fits of rage and the serenity of the moonlight ski., which is crowned by the haiku 🙂

  14. Love so much about this tale and its haiku. “The snow glistened, saphired by the moon” is one of my favorite lines. It seems there can be many unpleasant memories of a parent…a relationship frought with our growing awareness of who they are and are not….and yet there seems to be always one memory that softens and crystallizes that inborn love. This is beautiful. And I especially like the shift made in the haiku….the hare and the fox. Well done!

  15. Memory’s a strange thing; so selective. A beautiful write, magical to someone like me who doesn’t experience snow.

  16. I can see how this remains a vivid memory of you and your father, Bjorn, since you don’t remember another time skiing with him…and skiing remains such an important part of your life. I love the idea of the snow glistening blue by the moon. It seems to me like another world out there on the frozen waters.

  17. This causes a great sadness and feeling of loss/longing…really such touching prose and poignant haiku…the idea of remembering the last ever ski trip with father…so emotional. I love this description: “The snow glistened, saphired by the moon.” Beautiful haibun, Bjorn.

  18. This is so beautiful and poignant: A lump-in-the-throat tender expression of love for, what I perceive to have been, an often emotionally distant parent (as were so many men of that older generation) – Mine too. I have a handful of such memories, myself, with my father. They are lovely and fragile and sweet. With time (a lot of time) such memories come close to forgiving – or at least, softening – a lot of that weight-of-the-world temper.

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