Writing has great utility in demanding a consistent practice of observation. Lacking this, you don’t have much to say. Recently, with grant proposals and graduate school applications, my heart and eye have been elsewhere, and my world has been a blur of pleasant and satisfying daily rhythms without much to mark either their passing or their significance. Which is inevitable, and often desirable, particularly when you’ve taken a position guaranteed to affect your perception of time and busyness. But too much pleasant blurring of experience verges on complacency, and being lucky enough to spend the winter here makes me want memories with sharp edges and potency.
Weather has a way of ending complacency. On the weekend of the 16th a storm forecasters uniformly lowballed agitated the Gothic valley snow globe. Kate was visiting and in a moment of foresight we parked her car at the trailhead, skiing in and out for tamales and chicken broth. This presence of mind did not, however, extend to the two vehicles parked at Gothic. The storm didn’t stop, and then the county closed the road, and then we were saddled with the quixotic task of driving two passenger cars with low clearance through an ever-deepening snowpack. It continued to snow. The wind piled high and dense drifts under the aspens. On Wednesday, we managed to get the company car out in the morning without undue difficulty. My world-weary Volvo struggled more, taking two hours to push the four miles to asphalt. Chains came loose. Chains broke. But by sunset we could welcome the snow unreservedly.
Kate began her commute back to Denver at 4AM with an hour and a half of skiing from my cabin to her car. It was 5 degrees F, and the nearly full moon made hoarfrost on the willows sparkle amidst errant shooting stars. On my way home from dropping her off, I caught the first band of morning alpenglow on Gothic’s southern face. A memory with crisp resolution. I’m happy winter is here to stay.
Since then, things have been quiet. We are snowbound, likely until June. I’ve skied a lot, and thought about skiing a lot. Elsewhere, I published another piece in the Hypocrite Reader a while back, and Patrick was kind enough to think me worth interviewing. More to come.