Wednesday, January 23, 2013


On Sunday there was an enormous inversion and the world flipped on its head. On top of the mountain the weather was warm, sixty degrees and blue, while below the normally tepid city froze stiff and smothered in fog.

On saturday I was nearing the very bottom of things, curled up on the kitchen floor in the early afternoon, my head filled with black sand. Then the world did its somersault, and suddenly I was on top of the mountains, looking down at the city as if it were a little map. Suddenly I was okay again.

It was jarring.

Standing on the summit on Sunday morning with a friend, I didn't feel sad. The air was soft and warm and light. My lungs expanded as the weight of the black sand disappeared from my chest, they unfurled like the white wings on a hollywood angel. The snow was old, and it gleamed under an icy crust like meringue. "Such terrible conditions," said everybody. Our skis hissed through grainy piles of snow, like sugar.
On the last run of a long day, I started to think about the workweek ahead of me. I dangled my legs back and forth on the lift, wondering if I'd end up at the bottom of the ladder again, back on the kitchen floor with the cat clock swinging its paw back and forth between seconds. Then I had a brilliant idea. I could just come back here. I work remotely, after all. Why not?

On the way home I called my friend Cindy. Her work is transportable too, and we're both tired of coffee shops and lonely at home. She agreed in an instant.
Morning comes, and we're out of the city before dawn. The inversion layer remains for a second heavenly day in a row and we spend the morning on the back side, neck deep in sunshine.

It is so warm that, pushing through a particularly steep run, heavy with spring slush, we become completely overheated. We stop in the trees, strip away the last of the layers and lie down in the snow. Face against the ice, back against the sun, it is intoxicatingly warm. I am feeling voluminous.

"Hey," I say to Cindy. "Maybe I'm manic!"

"I don't think so," she replies cheerfully. "I think you're just skiing."
Two days ago, my roommate came home in the afternoon and found me on the rug. She knelt down, a flash of black in torn stockings. "I think you should get up," she said gently. This alarmed me; she never sounds gentle. We've known each other since we were seven. "Maybe have some cereal?" She has great big eyes, like an owl, and they were focused on mine. I turned my face to look at the wall. The black sand shifted from one side to the other.

"Sounds complicated." I said.
Now here I am, I'm whirling down the mountain in the middle of a January thaw so warm it feels like I'm swimming. I'm all smiles and laughter and talking a big talk about new writing ideas, new publications, new articles, a book. I'm telling Cindy about seeing Andrew one last time, how I got bombed on martinis and cried at dinner, now I'm wiping my hands together briskly of all that, all better now. Turning to look at the bright dome of the limitless world, breathing deeply. All better!

(It's amazing what the sun will make you think.)
Cindy and I work for a few hours at the lodge, snap together a little office in seconds with coffee and chords and laptops. I squint at spread sheets in my ski boots; we are surprisingly productive. Then the sun drops behind the mountain, and the tiny disk of the moon slides up the side of the sky. We keep skiing into the night, a warm blue basin swimming with stars. I can't explain it, but I feel so strangely new. Like the beginning of someone.

Allow me to introduce myself.


Steve said...

Glad you're feeling better. Skiing in a t-shirt seems like such a strange, but beautiful idea.

Catherine said...

This is great! Sounds like an amazing plan. There might still be some carpet curling moments, but as long as you have some good moments where the pain goes away, life is bearable again. Cheers to more and more good moments and less kitchen floor ones!

Sarah said...

So glad you're feeling better - speaking from experience....some things that are broken are stronger once they've been repaired. Bones and hearts are two things that I know this to be true about!

Now go work on your tan in your ski's! :)

Surndr said...

Yay I'm glad you are doing better...and this is random but what/ where did you get that light purple cami it looks awesome!

Catherine said...

I was reading this thinking, you need to get out and do something fabulous and then you'll feel better, finally shake any residual funk. But you are all along and soon you'll be where you need to be.

John said...

Damn! Can we go skiing in the sun? You look stunning. It's on me if we do.

cloves corner said...

Nice to meet you. This was truly lovely: photos, writing, heart and all.

So glad you found your way to the top. We had the same inversion but in our neck of the woods it was 20 degrees on top, minus 12 (or something) down below.

Brandi Shope said...

Fresh air, sunshine, a good friend, mind blowingly gorgeous views, all add up to blissful peace of mind.
In love with your first pic! :)

Melina said...

@surndr thanks! it's a patagonia top, i don't think they make it any more. But I stand by all patagonia tanks, they're the best!

SmithShack71 said...

Awesome! Glad it's better.


Sara, Plain and Tall said...

SO glad you are feeling the warmth. I swear by the healing powers of the Sun...and skiing. Something about the combination just makes one feel alive, doesn't it? Happy healing. :)

Liane said...

The Sun can do amazing things! The difference is my mood & outlook is amazing after I've had a dose of vitamin D :)

I'm so glad that you found something that helped you. This piece of writing was so honest but I could feel the change xx

Tela said...

this looks amazing! you look so happy in your skis and tank top :)

Amy said...

Sun? In the Seattle area? In the winter? Fuck ya.
In my experience, a "new-you" is always improved.
Nice to meet you!