From Lou: I love ski themed poems. David Rothman sent me this one some time ago — I’ve been meaning to work it into the blog and finally got around to it. David is a writer and backcountry skier living in Crested Butte, Colorado. Many of you might recognize his name from the ski articles he’s published over the years. Thanks David!
David writes: “The Mixing Bowl, as you may know, was (and still is) the name of the beginner lift (and slope) at Mt. Snow, VT. If you’re curious, go to MountSnow.com and you’ll find it, still there, in the middle of the trail map at the bottom….that day I remember must have been in 1965 – ’66. Lace-up boots, wooden skis…”
THE MIXING BOWL
by David Rothman
All this because my mother’s mother would not allow it,
So that at 30 when she decided her life was her own
She packed us into the car and headed north.
The entire day is splashed with blue,
The deepest sky blue, bluer than any blue
Could ever be, with pine trees lining
The side of the utterly white hill, which seems immense
But is not, as it is the smallest learning pitch
Tucked in at the bottom of the resort,
Served by a low, slow clanking chair
That lumbers uphill like an old coal train.
And I remember it is warm, that warmth seeping even into the memory itself
Until it is not only a memory but also a promise, but of what, of what?
I will give myself to it as to an ocean, willingly, carefully, joyfully, cautiously,
But giving, giving, for that is how it must be
If one wants to learn how to swim.
And my father is trying to ski on shorties smoking a cigar,
Which I think is odd in the sunshine dripping delicious.
And it is winter but the snow is getting a bit wet
On the bottom flats and I can’t stop
Laughing and go tumbling into a fence
No longer merely six or contemplating it,
But also now a concentrated solution of joy,
A vector-boy with flying and soaring and freedom
Stuck suddenly somewhere in his spirit forever.
So that when a strange man who seems to be as old as time
Comes up to me and says “are you alright?!”
I still recall that great word “Yes!” and a laugh as I stand up
And scramble around him to get back on the lift,
Time and my body now merely the newborn media of a kinetic ecstasy,
Every cell aching to invite gravity to do that to me again.