Feb 182016

This is what it feels like to max out on challenging my fear reflexes. These ten days in the Swiss Alps have been multiple simultaneous projects: learning a new approach to skiing, being in a foreign country, meeting and working with a team of internationals, learning how to use film equipment, using that equipment while skiing on actual mountains in actual conditions of steep slopes/fog/cold/snow/sun/fatigue….

The process of filming is quite tedious, especially since no one on the crew is professional. Remembering to charge (and bring) batteries, packing the camera bags, syncing the walkie-talkies, establishing meet-up locations and times, getting there, determining shot angles, setting up the equipment in constantly changing conditions, waiting waiting waiting while things get discussed, decided, moved, reconfigured, confirmed, before we can roll sound, roll cameras, slate in, call for action; finally someone gets a lesson, they move down the slope, and the whole operation commences again… And all of that is the second setup of the day, since we've already had an indoor class and filming session after breakfast! The evenings have been running late; dinner is (somewhat thankfully) a leisurely affair, taking twice as long as scheduled but mercifully delicious, followed by filmed review/conversation, potentially some Alexander work, stretching my aching legs, maybe a hot shower in there, did someone mention email???

I'll conclude by saying that today I repeatedly just lost it. Yesterday afternoon I was left unexpectedly alone on a slope with a camera backpack (about 10 pounds) and no radio, without a clear sense of who to meet where and when. It happens; communication is by nature insufficient and in stressed conditions such as these sometimes there are breakdowns. I did the best I could, getting myself back up to the top of the lift where I happened to run into another teammate. We left the camera in a locker and took a last run through the fog. It took me several attempts to grab the t-bar chairlift at the bottom of the slope — an indication of my waning energy and attention. Back at the top, I wanted to join some others in a final run, but my teammate's radio wasn't getting a clear signal and, my frustration spilling over into tears, I joined her in taking the gondola down to our starting point, then walking back to the hotel. I managed to cover up my upset with jovial dinner conversation facilitated by wine, but this morning I couldn't fake it: the combination of all these stresses had me SCARED, tired, irritable, and sore. All I wanted was for someone to cradle my head 🙁

I managed to admit to feeling wracked with fear — and receive enough reassurance to make it through the first filming of a lesson on the slopes, but found myself almost shaking with fatigue and distress by its conclusion. No objections were made when I excused myself to head back to the hotel after lunch, for some more tears and an attempt at rest. Really, I can reason out all the ways I am pushing myself, but in the end the body knows: no matter how beautiful the scenery, enough is enough.


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