Friday, March 21, 2008

Ski to exhaustion

If the winters were like this all the time, first of all we would build our structures and arrange our roads to manage it better. Second, we would be more blase about whether we skied every possible chance we got.

With snow dominating the landscape we have no choice but to ski. Cycling is not a good idea yet. Most side roads and driveways are blind. Cars and bloated SUVs push their noses out into the narrowed lanes as the drivers try to see to pull out. To get into their sight line as soon as possible, a cyclist would have to go out to the middle of the road. In places, the middle is still all there is. So those of us who ski ski. Pathological runners scamper down the slushy margins of the roads and leap for the snowbank or arrogantly play chicken with the motor vehicles. Go figure.

With daylight pushed to evening and the rest of the work schedule unchanged, sleep is the loser. Close at a normal hour. Ski an hour. Drive home an hour. Include prep time before skiing and cleaning up after. Next thing you know it's racing toward midnight and the alarm clock goes off when it always does. But who knows when we'll see this much snow, or even a reasonable amount of it, again? And it's the only game in town.

On a day off, there sits the snow, gleaming in waves up and up toward the forest edge that hides the known attractions farther up the slope. Can't ignore that. It's a perishable feast. You have to eat too much now, because you won't have any later.

One morning we'll wake up and realize May has arrived, or at least late April. What? How did that happen? In the time warp of endless winter the weeks pass looking strangely similar until suddenly they don't look the same at all. Rush rush into the next season, still glancing back at the one that vanished, more unbelievable in retrospect.

Right now, it's still here.

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