ANOTHER DAY ON SKIS
WORKING ON MYSELF ALONE ON SKIS
Week-long spring storm re-sculpts the mountain
and the world is new again.
Sandwich, orange, nuts, notebook,
small Redemptorist prayer book
by my friend John J. O Riordain in Ireland.
One layer under-dressed for spring snowstorm.
Reach for sun behind snow.
The morning stretches me out.
Skis cut me in and out of trees.
Two feet of snow over ice lets me move at will,
camber-cutting skis floating front and back,
only my boots over snow,
popping over and through new drifts.
Sweating by lunchtime at High Camp.
First the prayer before writing and speaking.
Surprised by Mary.
Mary is hope because we can do what Mary did.
Sit with the mystery of eating this orange.
Sit with mystery of spring snow.
Blizzard of grappel. Somewhere between
ice and corn flower, turning snow light and fast,
adding to what's been covered. A handful
of skiers on a 1000 acres of powder.
Hike to un-groomed west ridge line.
Father John walking after meals with his psalter.
Big man and that tiny book. Reading psalms.
30 years later. Still friends because I slipped a poem
under his door the morning we last saw each other.
His prayer insisting on a new program.
Differ without rancor as a man might differ with himself.
Twin tipped skis lift me through powder
past my knees. God can to anything.
So can these skis, I say, turning in the steeps
before falling untracked through trees,
falling into the drift away from tree well,
sunk in a fresh fix. Poles show me
how deep I've buried myself,
skis and shoulders securing me in snow
lodging me deeper each time I move.
Reaching for the camera I record
the underside of things as I rest.
I can get out of this mess after assessing the light.
8 April 2011
A DAY WITH KAREN ON SKIS
We stop on the mountain
and wipe her glasses.
She's wearing two pair.
One to see, one to shield snow.
Karen makes some nice turns.
We stop on the mountain for protein.
Sliced turkey from my pack.
I feed her from a baggie
with my fingers.
She is so beautiful,
snow curling her hair
as it touches her falling.
We're on our way to High Camp.
Stop here in the trees I say
so I can take your picture.
It is April. Karen wanted sun,
not this storm of snow.
I don't care what we get
knowing our skis
carry us again
into our long story together.
5 April 2011