Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 @ 12:04 pm
In the Alpine
The next morning, we tour out into the North Cascades, along a route that I hiked as a child. I blink and am back in the summer of 1988. My grandfather resting his hand on his knee, gazing out across to the Coleman Glacier. Crackers and cheese and sliced apples, handed to me by my mother as we rest beside the cerulean lake. My sister laughing as we slide down the patches of old snow. Blink. Today the landscape is swathed in layers of snow. All of the bumpy parts filled in and smoothed over.
We ski across an expanse of white, under which I know is a boulder field. We climb up a ridge, and the imposing volcano appears, swathed in mist and snow. The volcano’s glaciers create their own weather systems, and we stand in silent reverence.
Russell and Brent begin to transition their gear. I feel the pull in my belly, the fullness and warmth between my legs. I ski into a stand of trees, into a low point sheltered from the persistent alpine wind. I pull down my pants and squat. I feel for my cup and pull, and it empties onto the snow. A scattering of fertile tissue that freezes instantly in the sub-zero temperatures. I replace the cup into my body and pull up the layers of wool and GoreTex. I look down. I kick the snow around to cover it up.
In the spring, that snow will melt, and my fertile flesh will go into the earth and up into those trees. The wind will buffet the tree limbs, and I will be a part of that tree, standing there holding strong and bearing witness to the melting glaciers and eroding mountains.
I come out of the trees and transition my gear.
We ski down through the pristine bowl, consecutive s’s, and I’m in a dreamland of effortlessly moving across the landscape and sparkling snow and my love and all of the majesty of living. My body is fertile and full and healthy. I feel joy radiate from within me.
I reach the others and turn my skis to stop, a soft cloud of powder rising up in front of me.
The snow falls to the ground, and the air clears, and the sun shines brightly.
“You have a great ski smile,” Brent remarks. “Actually, you have the best ski smile I’ve ever seen.”