The lift swept me off my feet, carrying me high above the snow drenched trees. The slopes held inches on inches of new powder. It was winters last laugh. It was the last day at the local ski mountain that I’d called home this winter.
The spring blues hit me hard. I’d watched the grey concrete of the city reveal itself as the snow melted away to spring. I refused to return to the mountain for weeks as rain slaughtered the white slopes. I was living on the ghosts of the best powder day of my life.
But as I thought about the three week storm that left my city life in shambles and my face as worn out as my skis from smiling, I realized it wasn’t just my most epic powder day, but the most epic season.
I let the mountain call me hers this winter. I let her siren song entice me into staying and dancing with her white slopes long and hard. And oh, did I learn to dance this winter.
20 days on 5 different mountains on lifts that were still rickety with the purity that small ski areas possessed. It was a Montana winter in the Rocky Mountains.
I flew through the memories of the whoops and hollers and wild screams that tore through my lungs this winter. I had clicked back into my bindings scared of the mountain and unsure of my legs, but the mountain had quietly given me back my wings.
I remember so many moments I chose freedom over fear. Fear of failure because every time I failed, I was just left face full of snow, face down, laughing, thanking mama mountain for another lesson.
Last night, locked in by the city lights, we saw the rain turn into snow and looked into the mountains. They were getting dumped on. It was like morning for my soul, suddenly, the past weeks of dreary rain and mud washed away.
I jumped up and down like a child on the couches, laughing and dancing with joy. The childhood of winter had returned.
Like a slap in the face, she was back as if to tell us not to worry, she would be back full force soon enough. So closing day, I did not wear my bathing suit but happily donned my snow pants. Oh I was going to miss these white slopes in the warm rainy months ahead.
This winter was full of chasing to keep up with those flying down the slopes with me, pushing myself off small jumps that seemed huge, picking myself out of tomahawking down the snow, and threading myself through trees for the first time ever.
The mountain challenged me over and over again to pick myself up and try again. I kept coming back for the purity of standing at the top of that first run staring into the wonderland of sparkling snow ready to learn another day.
She taught me to trust my legs, that they would dance if I had faith in them
I’d never given my legs enough days to learn how to dance with the white waves of the mountain until this year, and I went back continually to fall on the perpetual quest for freedom under the stormy skies of paradise.
I left the city to find home, away from brick buildings and blank pages that left me tired and bored. And every time the lift swept my feet away from base of the mountain, my soul grew wings and flew. Like gritty base guitar and hard liquor, this winter took me under its arm and showed me all I’d been missing and left me question the meaning of the life I acted out in the city’s limits.
How real could books and dollar signs be if your soul forgot how to dance and your heart lost its laughter?
I could say I went to the mountains to remember what real life was like when I came back, but the mountains convinced me that real life doesn’t lay in the gridlock of society but in the purity of those wild white chutes.
So I’m left twisting back down to the city, the snow fading by the mile, hoping I can find a wildness to hold me over until the snow begins to fall again.
The mountain knows I have so many more lessons to learn and so much more freedom to gain.
But for the warm summer months ahead, the memories of this winter burn in my heart and keep me ready to enter a state of childhood, the ecstasy of dancing and laughing, full of possibility when the first snow comes again.