Time Out Of Mind Begin with a lie. Doctor’s appointment, dentist, holistic veterinarian-do what youhave to. Make some time, beg for it, borrow, bargain, steal. Only do what you have to because youhave to. Three days straight-satellite maps of massive cold fronts, low pressure, and Doppler radarblotting the landscape white like an invisible ink spill. Three days! Straight! Best tracks go to patrollers,instructors, and lifties.
Then don’t forget the working poor; or the idle rich who can keep their schedulefree of responsibilities, commitments, and the resultant self-imposed guilt of not fulfilling them. Slice ahealthy hunk off for the sinfully lucky who happen to be around when blizzard conditions perform fleetingone-acts of glory. Gluttony! That’s what gourmet goods encourage. That’s where you come in-beforeweekend hordes shred the pillowy ground cover into memory-hopefully not having bent the rules so farthat they break, but still very unattached at the present hour and whizzing up the road maybe faster thanis prudent.
Beating back the beaters there’s finally a peak peek-white, shiny, and honorable like theHimalayas, smothered under a thick layer of frosting. That’s a good sign! Feather-light flakes to wadethrough on the way to unsheathe your waxed and deserving sled. It’s been too long. Hearing only thechafing of waterproof fabric in haste and the crunch of pow packing beneath boot tread, the rest lumpstogether like to-do lists-running reminders of priorities forsaken, as if your ears were covered withseashells instead of polar fleece. The daily dialogue can leave a message for now. The only officialbusiness is to hit the head, otherwise track the path of least resistance. Passing a wall of payphones atthe lodge all occupied, packed with others trying to suspend their animation with callbacks, voice-mailmessages, and hushed instructions to administrative assistants.
There’s a call or nine you could make, a few hatches needing battening down; you have to fairly wrestle yourself out the door. But when you do,there’s that brace of mountain air and the line of cable and steel snaking through clouds up to heaven.Sprint to it, or what passes for sprinting in two fresh feet of snow! Slapping on your board, skatingpossessed through nearly empty queues. Just a bullwheel turn away from freedom … That’s when it hits.You’ve stolen a moment-fantastic at today’s frenetic pace-though still reminiscent of 70s street sageBaretta and his theme song. Surely time’s elastic band will snap you down the line for this. Maybe itshould, but “don’t do the time if you can’t do the crime” of riding some powder once in a while, lest welive the minutes and seconds like prisoners, with no time off for good behavior.-Billy Miller