The side of the mountain was covered with snow. Nick could see the team on the ridge, but he couldn’t see Jim. Jim was at the back, anchoring the line. Nick heard a pop and a sheet of snow slid from the ridge. The sheet was sawed into strips by the pines on the hill. Nick heard another pop and saw another sheet break loose. He saw the sheet move before he heard the pop.
At the lodge they sat in silence.
“I’d give anything to have been up there,” said Nick.
“It was something,” said Jim.
“This damn leg,” said Nick.
“Sure,” said Jim.
“You never know,” said Nick, “what you’re doing for the last time.”
“We had some times,” said Jim.
Jim looked at the glass in his hand then looked at Nick. Nick looked at Jim.
“My stomach’s still good,” said Nick.
“I’ll get another bottle,” said Jim.
“The first time…” sang Bonny, “ever I saw your nose… I thought the sun rose… on your ears… and the moon and the stars… were the crown you placed… on the green… and the tasty fields… my love… on the green… and the tasty fields…”
“The first time… ever I grazed with you… I felt the earth… move beneath my hooves… like the trembling heart… deep inside of me… and I knew… you could understand… my love… I knew… you could understand… The first time… ever I napped with you… and heard your snore… harmonize with mine… I felt our song… would fill the farms… and bray… ‘til the end of time… my love… and bray… ‘til the end of time… The first time… ever I saw… your nose… your nose… your nose… your nose…”
To snowboard or to ski? thought Pablo. Blurtso’s wetcat mctwist is wicked epic, but Bonny’s telemark turn is beautiful… visor beanies are sick, but my Jean Claude Killy is classic… there’s nothing like the glide of sticks, but gapping a blinger is phat nasty. There must be some way to decide. Pablo! called Bonny from the ski shop. Coming! said Pablo, rushing to join her.
I suppose many people have sat and wondered, over the years, about a loved one who was not there. A father, mother, son, daughter, husband, or wife. I suppose they woke up every morning and went to bed every night with a hole in their heart. With an empty space they carried around, pressing through the day with only half of themselves still there. I suppose that’s the most common way to go through life.
I wonder what people did in New England before television and Facebook? I guess they read books to pass the slow winter hours… or wrote letters… or practiced the piano…
So simple… so quiet… so inviting… but alas…
I have promises to keep…
and pumpkin pies to eat… before I sleep.
There sure are a lot of ads during the holiday season, said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, even more than usual. You wouldn’t think it was possible, said Blurtso, for the advertisers to make people even greedier.
It’s impossible to explain, said Blurtso. What is? said Harlan. Why? said Blurtso. Lizzy? said Harlan. Yes, said Blurtso, I’ve seen thousands of donkeys before. It’s a mystery, said Harlan. Yes, said Blurtso, and it’s hard to explain.
The last flower is gone, but somewhere its seed remains, and when the seed is gone, its flower will remain. I suppose nothing is whole unto itself. We are all just vehicles, and life moves through us.