Powder to the Peaceful
Today I’m drowning my sorrows in snowflakes. A welcome 2″ of fresh flakes, says the official report – but my unofficial ski pole says it’s a tad deeper up top. And it’s still snowing. This is a day of self-indulgence – a day unplugged from the nation’s news – after which I’m committed to pulling my head out of the snowbank.
To be honest, this morning I needed to step out in nature. Science says it’s good for you. I read it in The Nature Fix, the forthcoming book by smart and talented science reporter (and onetime Steamboat resident) Florence Williams: “Nature, it turns out, is good for civilization,” she reveals.
Mighty Mother Nature, hook us up. Civilization needs you right now.
For today, it’s hard to imagine a better salve than making big meditative turns on Mount Werner, riding a gondola packed with passionate, like-minded, snow-loving souls.
There’s a soft blanket of new snow on everything. The bumps on Surprise are surprisingly gentle. Sunset is riding smooth. Light’s Out is forgiving. Vagabond is cruising fast. The clouds are perched in an unpredictable array of nooks and crannies, so visibility is sporadic. It ranges from a soft haze to pea soup. Ted’s Ridge is an idyllic ride down.
Today, I’m inhaling the clean air on the top of Storm Peak and sipping frigid clean water from the Yampa River. Thanks for your diligent work through so many administrations to keep it that way, EPA. I’m soaking in the majesty of America’s beautiful public lands – my land, and yours – and saying a hefty prayer that the communally-owned status of our magnificent public spaces stays that way. We are rich, no matter the size of our bank accounts, when we enjoy this federal forest that is the Steamboat Ski Area.
I’m tipping my ski helmet to teachers and doctors who wrestle every single day to make our country smarter and healthier. I’m rooting for our free, independent press. I’m praying for peace. I’m pushing for justice. I’m standing tall with science, because it’s important – and climate change is real. Save our snow, to spell it out plainly.
Inshallah, as my Muslim friends have taught me to say.
Today is for pomp and ceremony in our nation’s capital. It’s a time of transition, and a moment to rally for unity. Tomorrow will exemplify inclusion, a day for absolutely everyone who wants to holler from the mountaintops in support of human rights, dignity, truth, choice and equality. I’m tossing in an extra loud whoop for the environment. Free speech – it’s a noble tradition.
Steamboat Springs is fired up for its local edition of the international Women’s March on Saturday. Pink ears have been knit. A localized logo reflects site-appropriate ski goggles. Retro onesies are being resurrected as venerable ski town pantsuits. Local art studios have staged poster-making sessions for a solid week. Skiers, shredders, free heelers and skinny skiers in this proud nation of immigrants are uniting with women all over the world. Rumor has it that some of the 500 Women Scientists are in town to ski and march in white lab coats too.
As for the future? No skulking in the snow bank for me. When I need perspective, I plan to slink into Shadows, make a few fluffy turns, cast some snow angels under a bluebird sky, and think about America’s honorable 44 finding bliss on a snow day.
Peace out, Pussycats.
Jennie Lay, Telemark skier
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