emma b. says

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Diamond Dust and Sulfur

Last Friday my brother and I headed for the hills. Mount Hood is now my beacon, where the ocean was in San Francisco, I am now oriented to the East. In my nerd heart it's my Lonely Mountain, where a dragon lies smoking in his dreams, it's true enough, too. You get as close to the summit as you can and the reek of sulfur comes undulating out of crevaces and up to your nose as you try to shield exposed bits from the elements, and hand tightly to the chairlift.

W was playing hooky and I wasn't, what with nothing to do and nowhere to go, a bit of mountain tonic was just what was required. We are NoCal foothill kids, he and I, between the flat heat of the valley and scrub pines on the leeward slopes, and for me snow has always been a childish joy, snow is indelible to my youth and childhood, and I think nothing is as beautiful as snow falling, nothing as profound as it's silence as it comes hurling from the heavens (I don't live where snow falls a lot, so it's a treat, don't flip me the bird Michiganders).

Both of us have to undo the top buttons of our ski pants, an unwelcome testament to seasons passing, we hobble into our boots, I take three steps and nearly clatter to the ground. And yet, I find myself truly happy to be clop-clopping with my brother, lift tickets on, those old metal triangles long gone, goggles on, stomp into your bindings and head towards the nearest lift, the snow is so fucking fresh that is scronches - the ticket checker zaps you and you are up and away. I have to sit at the end these days, at some point I developed a major fear of falling off the lift.

W and I giggle about The Way Things Were, the spandex, the Vuarnet's, the really long skis as I cannot unclench the side bar, it's cold, it's really, really cold, but the sun is out, I worry about dropping a pole or worse, my iPhone off the lift, and then tips up, shallow slope, a glide and and a wide turn and then there you are.

The lip of the presipice, the first run, have I forgotten, are my skis good, should I have waxed, do I need to go flying down quite yet, will I break my neck, fiddle with gloves, fiddle with poles, take a look at each and other and let's go!

Let's go!

I think, jesus god, could anything feel so liberating, I think jesus god, my face is cold, I think jesus god, speed, I think jesus god, find your form, I think jesus god why is my brother so much faster than I, then I think jesus god, the air is sparkling, jesus god it's so beautiful and then I stop thinking and I am only a disciple of velocity, I've left my cortex dangling from a tree branch further up the mountain and I am simply intent on descent, and I am not afraid, it's like skiing on confectioners sugar over a layer of butter cream, it's forgiving, it sparkles, I am full of god's light, I am so having a cheeseburger for lunch.

Seven Years

I missed another anniversary, I am forever missing important dates. As of the 26th of February I have been writing out here for seven years. It seems like it should be a long time, but it feels like a blink. I have changed cities and states, I have changed jobs 4 times, I am on my second bout of unemployment, I have had boyfriends and then I have not, and haven't for a long time now. I was 32 when I started here and now I am taking my victory lap toward 40. I have traded in my discman for 2 iterations of an iPod and as I write now I am listening to Arcade Fire on my iPhone, I am not sure that I have been ever explicit that I write and have always written to music.

This world we live in changes so quickly, I am not even sure that I can begin to fathom everything that has happened since that day I saw the sunrise from beneath the tower in January of 2000, standing next to my then husband with the City before us and the Pacific to our left, I thought I saw promise on the horizon. I am a different woman now, I know a little more, and suffer from pervasive cynicism tempered with flurries of grace, but I still catch the occaisional glimpse of promise on the horizon.

* I would like to thank the people who have commented recently, I am grateful that somewhere in the world you are out there, I wish you a happy day of skiing, or may there just be sparkles when you least expect them.


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