when clouds meet mountains
When clouds meet mountains is where we'll go, we say.
White glaciers scrape and gnarl the rock for millions and millions of years. On the 1st, at the beginning and end of the day, we see the sun rise and set on the same stretch of road. Before we get there, the assuming mountains stay hidden beyond canyons and between valleys. I consider taking a step ladder up to the bubble gum sky—the chestnut foothills go nicely with a blush silhouette.
We wonder where you are, tucked under buildings. Skin to little muscles to bone, the flaccid comforter is too grey for our bright bodies. Powder days, powdered milk, powdered cheeks—the voice of trees says most when the wind winds through it: I love you for absolutely no reason but a figment of my imagination.
I want, just once, to wake up with the sun. Not before it. Have it cradle my shoulders and pour light over my eyes like milk into coffee. Instead, we welcome the new year with a diminishing darkness. It was 6:07am and there was the black light peering through blue curtains. It was time to pack and layer: silks, leggings, the running shirt, the thin, teal fleece. Snow pants. Coat. Buff, gloves, mittens. Hat and helmet. Socks.
The snow whines ever so softly. The skis—a conglomeration of UHMV, steel metal edges, fiber glass, lamented wood core, nylon, what am I missing—crane their tips towards the sun. Their bodies have snow dusted on the design that resembles contemporary icicles in violets and blues.
We are on top of a mountain. Sometimes I forget that.
The view is almost ridiculous. Peaks peer left, right, center. The blue bird sky against the chalky mountains create a stark separation between land and air. When clouds meet mountains is where we'll go. When clouds meet mountains the snow creaks again. The poles plunge with intent into the earth, my triceps gently engage with my hamstrings as the body pulls forward—my sternum to a beginning decent with textured breath.
Sometimes we forget what we're doing. My feet are bound to two long boards that are engineered to skim above snow. We are 12,000 feet from the ocean.
For every second out breath I turn, squeezing my quads in parallel, using my poles for guidance. I inhale into fleece—hot air for once—and exhale again as my body rotates me the other way.
The run is wide and soft. There is so much mountain to cover.