The sky is a purple shade of intense. It feels like I have found a way onto Jules Verne’s rocket. One look down the mountain we just rode up is enough to get my heart pushing blood back into my fingers–my toes continue to freeze their asses off.
From the airplane window, these mountains look like a plaything–bunching up like an accordion before stretching out again, spreading their arms out to Salt Lake, cupping it in their frozen hands. From here, they’re just frightening enough to give me a sense of mortality, but exciting enough that I can shrug it off for twenty minutes.
Leaving that sense behind can lead to both the best runs of the day and risky encounters with the mountain and its trees. Apparently, my arm gives in before a tree does. Bruises merely act as medals of honor though.
With every turn–sometimes more of a leap–down the face of the mountain, I have to remind myself to breathe in the pale air surrounding me–so bright and so empty.
The real reward is halfway down–below the crusty, windswept crest, but before the tired, used up base. Right in the middle, tucked in between the trees, hides the light, feathery snow that lets me float–lets me glide–like a mysterious ship in the clouds. In between those trees, I forget about how cold my face is, about how tired my legs are, about how steep the hill or close the trees–I am romancing the mountain, and all thoughts about its imperfections are secondary. The mountain embraces me in her arms and lets me caress her face. We speak softly to one another without using any words. The day together is one of bliss. I stay with her until the last corner of the sun has hidden itself behind her face, and when I leave, my night is filled with thoughts of her. I wake early the next morning so that I can rush to her again and repeat yesterday, but we are not alone. Around her are many suitors, vying for her attention. I can’t help but compare myself to the others surrounding my mountain–performing feats I can’t follow. Like before, I forget to breathe, and I get overwhelmed. When I remember to breathe, I forget those around me–the mountain and I are together again, and it doesn’t matter who else is around, because she has chosen me. I love her like crazy.
But it can’t go on forever. The day ends. The seasons change, and we with them. I must go home, and my life will return to normal. She will entertain others. But we will meet up again next year, knowing how it will end yet willing to submit to the cycle again. We will fill ourselves with the same heightened feelings of bliss and heartbreak. We will spend days of perfection and anger together. We can’t help ourselves. This is the way it has to be.