Reaching what felt like a milestone for me in making 100 Experimental Batches of soap, I was reminded of a skiing trip to Vermont with my Dad, step-mum and step-sis during 2nd year university. We drove down in Dad’s car and the closer we got to the resort, the harder it snowed. By the time we reached the resort, the visibility was bad and we almost couldn’t get the car up to the Chalet we were staying at because of the ice. We all chanted “I think I can….I think I can….I think I can….” willing the car up the icy incline, laughed so hard when it seemed to have worked and rejoiced when the car finally arrived at the Chalet. We were staying with Paul, a Ski-Instructor friend of ours.
The next morning was any skiers dream. After a solid day and night of snow, the morning dawned sunny and just cold enough for the snow to stay perfect… Paul was very excited… POWDER! Fresh Tracks… Now, being from Ontario, we were well versed in the art of skiing on ice, but POWDER? This would be new….
From the Chalet, we actually had to ski down to the bottom of the mountain to get our ski passes. We trekked through the snow a few meters in our ski boots while Paul led us to the start of the route down. We emerged through a few trees to a beautiful open slope full of virgin snow and Paul advised we could put our skis on now. He was going on ahead as he had to get to work. I said “Um Paul, I know you are the expert here…but we don’t know ANYTHING about skiing powder! Can you give us a few tips on how to get down?” “Sure!” he advised, “There are 2 fundamental rules to skiing Powder.” Rule 1 is the 100 fall rule. You cannot say that you know how to ski Powder until you have fallen 100 times in powder.” We oooohed…. We aaaaahed…. We chuckled…. He then set himself up in a ready position, and said, well hooted really, with a huge smile on his face…. “Rule 2 is – ALWAYS GO FIRST!” and he took off and left us behind! That was it. That was our lesson on Powder. We rolled around laughing for a while and they began the adventure of making it down the slope …
So, somehow after 100 experimental batches of soap I feel now like I know what I am doing. I know I know… the actual number 100 is purely symbolic. I am not superstitious. Simply, I think there is a point you reach in anything new you are learning where you go from feeling like a beginner to feeling like you know how. In learning a language, I call it the “embarrassment point” where suddenly you don’t mind sounding like an idiot if you make a mistake. You attempt saying it anyway. I never got there in French – I always felt like I sounded like an idiot. I got there in Spanish. In Yoga, the other night, after about a year of going to Yoga class (well a Yoga/ Pilates combo), I finally felt like I could keep my eyes closed as the teacher guided us through the next move. I didn’t have to peek at the position she was in. I didn’t have to ask her about the breathing. NOT saying I am an expert…. I just didn’t feel like a beginner any more.
With my soap-making, I have a confidence now that I definitely didn’t have when I started. I know how to make soap and I am making some great soap!! I still have a LOT to learn, but I am ready to proudly call myself an Artisan Soap-Maker.