You go girl.

24 02 2017

We lapped the Summit side today, my friend and I. The snow was softened up by the sun enough so that it carved nicely on the groomers, and still we found mini patches of coveted powder here and there on Sleeper and Paydirt, amongst the trees.

Anyways, I digress. There was a cutie-patootie liftie working the Summit chair for our few runs. She was Aussie, young and super beautiful. There was a bit of a delay, the lift had stopped for a few moments. We overheard her conversation with another young Aussie gal, and it briefly afforded me a teasing glimpse into the lives of the “younguns”.

“How’s your season going?” one beauty asked the other.

“Sooooooeeeeewwwww good. I’m definitely coming back next wintah.”

“Oh, soooooeeeewwwww awesome.”

“Yeeeeaaaaahhhh, and I’m heading to the Eeeyyy-land this summah. I might get a job theyah.”

“Ohhhhh, that’s sooooooeeeeeewww amazing!! Enjoy! Hey, I’ll see you this weekend?”

“Yeeeahhhhh, should be soooooeeewwww fun!”

 

My friend and I got on the chair, bathed in the sunshine pouring down over Ymir peak. I giggled to my friend, mimicking that sweet young girl a bit.

“Ooooohhhhh, yyyeeeaaaahhhh, lookit at ma life, sooooeeeeww gooood. I don’t have any babies or even a husband! Not a mortgage or worry in sight! Lookit at me, with my high firm titties, lovin’ life, working heeeeaaahhh, working theeeeaaarrrr, with me smooth skin and no wrinkles.”

We laughed. And then we sighed. And remembered our own wild feet and youth. We recalled our own smooth skin and lives untethered. When we were wild women.

Listen, I only said what I said, I only mimicked her with the utmost of respect. The utmost of not so much jealousy, but rather with an older woman’s indulgent nostalgia. Those long ago days, when it was our turn to be wild and free.

What I thought was this:

Fuck girl: GO. Get that job on the Island. Party, make money, surf, make love, have fun, laugh and LIVE. Come back to Whitewater another season. Ski or board your ass off on your days off. Celebrate your youth. Get tattooed. Take those trips. Kiss that person you find attractive. Grab life and do what you want to do. All of those experiences you are about to dredge out for your life, they will be a guiding force in many of your decisions that you will eventually make. Let these days be the solid foundation of a life well-lived.

Take them. Run with them. That whim that whispers in your ear? Go with it. Don’t hesitate. You with the long brown braids and bright eyes. You have an epic future ahead.

Every time we lapped that side, we’d come back to the chair, and she’d ask us how our day was going. She’d ask with a bright smile and an authentic sweetness of someone who was loving life. It filled my heart with a subtle joy. That this young soul, this lovely human was living her life to her own accord, hopefully not succumbing to the dictates of others. Her life, her rules.

It settled in me, this thought and wonder of why this brief interaction touched me so deeply. And I realized it is only because it is what we should ALL do as humans. We should all live our own lives, dictated by no other person’s demands of what we should or shouldn’t do, guided only by our own happiness and joy.

It gave me hope.

It set a little tiny piece of my heart free.

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Choices.

26 02 2014

Oh, how my heart broke to hear of another life taken by our mountains. So young and handsome was that young man, swept away by a tumultuous flurry of snow. I think of his mother, his family, his lover and his friends and how they must all be clinging together, in a desperate measure to move forward without his smile and spirit.

I hear too, the angst of opinions regarding back-country touring. I read the comments on the article about his death and was appalled at the brashness of judgment: stupid choices, he should have known better, when will these people learn?

And while I can understand the passion behind this, my first thought was please do not say these things while this young man’s family and loved ones mourn his passing. He died! Regardless of how, the ones who love him must move forward in some manner of normalcy, fumbling around for sense and seeking solace. They never have to hear negative comments, they should not read that he should have known better.

You see, when you love the mountains, you do know all the inherent risks. You challenge yourself, you educate yourself, you knowingly take the risk for the love of life experience. For every life taken too soon, there are countless others enjoying the beauty, the rush, the thrill of the back country. On any given day in the winter, we see trucks laden with snowmobiles, groups of smiling faces placing skins on skis, snow-shoers packing tea and compasses to take with them. They do all this with a passion. A passion of recognizing the risk that the mountains give and yet they embrace it fully with the love of the experience deep within. It’s not like they want to die doing something they love; rather they get off the couch with intent of living their own life with adrenaline-infused experiences that give them something they need.

I ski, and I ski fast. I wonder…. if I crashed and died, would others come down on my choices? Would my death be found riddled with fault? Would I be blamed? I hope not.

As we all live in a place where mountains give us joy, we need to accept that some people take that joy and run with it. They love what they do, they do it wisely. These back-country folks who seek thigh-deep powder and fresh tracks are not uneducated buffoons who trek willy-nilly into the wilderness. They have the avalanche courses, they wear the beacons and they do NOT want to die. It is the risk they take. It is the risk anyone would take doing what they love to do.

I admire them. I hope no more lives are taken but I would never dream of telling anyone to stop. Our lives are our own choices, and to be truly alive with every cell in your body is worth it to so many.

May the family of this young man find solace in one another and his light shine on in the smiles of everyone he loved.