Friday, January 4, 2013

Brrrr At The Observatory

Only three fleeting flurries of snow have whitened the streets of Fort Greene since the beginning of this winter, but this morning the temperature hovered at water's freezing point for water. I went to the local bagel shop for a coffee and listening to the ski reports from Hunter, Stratton, and Camelback. Conditions of the slops were excellent in the mountains. I haven't skied in this century. My old ski partner Ms. Carolina passed away last January. In the 90s we traveled to Steamboat Springs, Winter Park, and Jackson Hole. The southerner was a good skier. And she loved her mountains. One afternoon we stood atop a mountain with our skies facing downhill. No other skiers were braving the frigid summit. The temperature was -20F. We have the slopes to ourselves. Spindrifts of snow furled over an arete. "Are you cold?" I shouted to Ms. Carolina between gusts. "A little." She was shivering in her light parka, but mustered a smile. Courage complimented her fortitude. "This is what it must be like on top of Himalayas." I was warm in my cold-weather gear. "A good day that is." A blast of wind almost knocked us over and we wordlessly nodded to each other. It was time to go. Ms. Carolina went first. I lingered a second and then pushed off with my poles. That day was almost twenty years ago. This morning I exited from the shop to be greeted by a stiff cold wind. I shut my eyes and closed out the noise of the big city. My memory stretched through time to another day and place. I saw her smile and opened my eyes, then tugged on my cap. It was a cold day.

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