Day One of Five


Sammie takes the camera at High Camp
and makes a photo shoot.
I like what she sees.
Her vision opens me up.
High Camp is as much a part
of our process as anything else.
The archetypal temple.
Way back, out back,
where consciousness begins.
Where the dreaming takes place.

They’ve moved the microwaves
upstairs where we like to sit.
Even this a good move.
Now they’re eye level
for the kids.

The backpack is BCA,
Back Country Access.
First aid kit, Swiss Army Knife,
extra gloves, masks for each child.
Compass, ski wax, headlamp.
Old Man's Beard, lotion, lunches for High Camp,
Shambhala edition of Rumi.
reading glasses, notebook.
It has sleeves for shovel
and probe, but these,
along with the beacon
have been given to my son.

I could skin up, and climb,
but I was no good on those old skis
in fresh snow in the wild. Limits learned.
Heel release. Heel locked.
What opened for me
is what these children needed
to take care of things in bounds.

Like John Prine sings,
It’s a big old goofy world.
Children negotiating snow
on skis
is part of this direction.

Jim Bodeen
19 February 2016


What happens on the mountain
happens on skis with children.
Sammie loses a tooth
eating lunch at High Camp.
How this goes, how it doesn’t.

Johnny meets us on the lift,
surprising us. On his ski
he’s written with a marker,
“Be kind whenever possible
It is always possible.”—
the 14th Dalai Lama
(Big Hitter the Lama, Long)”

You know Aunt Cindy?
You know Aunt Diane?
Johnnie is Aunt Diane’s son.

There’s a time of mountain day
when the ski feels so natural
to the child, that she falls
because she forgot they were skis.
That’s what I’m looking for.
No, there are no lessons.
I’ve never taught them a thing
about skiing. I either say,
You go, or, I go,
without saying a thing.
It took me years to begin
to glimpse this.

Jim Bodeen
16 February 2016


Washed off the mountain
Snow couldn’t hold any more water
Icy ping of sleet on cheeks
Skis moving through laid down
troughs of wet cement
Calling out in song
how good it is to be here

How good it is to be
on the way to High Camp
looking for a window table
on Sunday morning
The only restaurant
I’ve ever wanted.
Don’t call for reservations
This is a wilderness crossing

Valentine’s Day with Sammie
on the Mountain, hitting all the connections
Working the camera, finding the zoom
hot chocolate and coffee,
brownies and Mentos—
candy in a rainbow
of flavors—sending it
all down the mountain
on Facebook. All those crosses
in the windows. Chapel
at High Camp, most
don’t think of it as a temple
It’s never been anything but
Don’t go the mountain to ski
High Camp is lunch in the backpack
Backpack itself, back country access

Match Old Man's Beard and hat
So many impulses to turn into the trees,
to ski there, eat snow,
to look at snowflakes in their six-sidedness,
Old Man's Beard
to become the canopy itself

To access this, while dancing
Sammie's day. She waited,
and she gets Valentine's Day
she moves through the kind of storm
that washes out highways
Sammie makes Sun Catchers
from plastic beads, a heat process
for Valentine's Day
One tied to the altar
on the rear-view mirror,
the other goes up with fingers
on the window at at High Camp
Sammie takes the camera
and finds the wet light
Her eye all squint and focus
Her sense of composing, of composure
And her joy, even at being washed out
in her soaking and early out

Jim Bodeen
13-15 February 2016


Grandson reading Star Wars in car.
Where it all began again.
Where it begins, being children with children,
taken up in snow.

Mountain music.
Music of the car.
Music of the child.
Music of the wind.

The snow’s music.
Grandpa’s big ears.
North Dakota’s music.
Indigenous drums.

The politics of the child.
The politics of the song.
The politics of the witness.
The politics of the breath.

The camera’s great reach and focus.
The wonder of the listening mountain.
The grand daughter’s place in the great listening.
The parrot in Robert Sund’s poem—

This being the father who cannot reach
for his children. This being.
All this giving it another go.
This being Sunday, the Sabbath.

This being the way it is.
This being the way it is imagined.
This being the ski as it sets and releases.
Canopy of tree and sky on a tiny planet.

Jim Bodeen
Valentine’s Day, 2016


Orange peel and tiny carrots in baggies
and York heart-shaped chocolates
surrounded by cover-worn copy
of Rumi from Shambhala. OK,
And the wrapped IPhone
on the pine table, all well and good.
Two pieces of Dove dark chocolates
wrapped in red aluminum foil.
And the unwrapped message
that held the chocolate, inside
and smoothed out, with the message,
Make the first move?

Tainted documentary.

Jim Bodeen
12 February 2016

Day One of Five

All of the weather reports were bad. And the ski report was a cliché and a bad joke: Prepare for liquid sunshine. This path, it’s not about alpine skiing any more than it’s about recreation or mission. It is about listening and saying, Yes. Call and Response. Daily music. It is about one-on-one, and being on the mountain. The task is to be present. What can be seen and heard. How many tools at  one’s disposal. Being one of the tools. Being present.The inexhaustible surprise. Available light. Being outside. The dreaming that has been given is available to all. It has not been anything one person is responsible for. It has been something that one has to learn to listen for, and become responsible to. 

With what we knew about the weather, we had to pay close attention to the light. We we looked through the camera, we knew something was in our favor. So much snow had been uncovered by the rain that we had to slow it way down in order to get closer to all this beauty. As you look at the little trees being uncovered, remember that they're still under eight feet of snow. Put the camera close and see what it can find. The lens is much better than your eyes. These are the tops of trees. Not the tree itself. Your eye can see the bonsai, but this tree will never go into a Chinese pot. Remember, too, this is a designated Wilderness area. You're in the Goat Rocks. People fought to preserve this place. You're now inside the Chapel at High Camp Lodge. This place, The Chapel, is open to all, but it doesn't post any signs. There are prohibitions. Some think this place is a tavern. Everyone likes the varnished pine tables and benches. There are microwaves available for those who brown-bag it for lunch. This has been a day of weather and God. Both, like the surroundings of six-sided snowflakes, all different, are part of the absolute other, inexhaustible and different.

Jim Bodeen 
12 February 2016

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