Charles Agar " Can’t we still be friends?
Grand County, Colorado
I’m hanging onto the ski season like I did my first love affair gone south.
I was crushed when Genevieve Neale told me she no longer wanted to “go” with me over the phone one afternoon in sixth grade.
But there was some hope, I thought, when she said she still wanted to be “friends” and maybe talk on the phone sometimes (ah, to be so naïve again).
And just like those awkward calls to Genevieve (a prelude to drunk dialing in college), I’m still courting this ski season long after things are obviously over.
We said goodbye last week, remember? I even dove into a pool of frigid water to prove my devotion and partied at the base of the mountain as a tribute to our time together.
Then I heard she might still want to be friends and I lingered, even hopped in the car and drove to Aspen Highland for their closing weekend and a few more slushy spring turns.
It was good, mind you, just like it was good to hear the voice of that sixth-grade heartbreaker even when she said, “Please stop calling me; I’m going to tell my parents.”
I knew the glorious corn-snow and the gnarly steeps of Highlands Bowl were clearly a swan song, and at the end of the day I was conflicted, aware that it’s over but just hoping it could be different. Can’t we just start again? Just one more powder day together? Remember how good it was in February?
When one door closes another door opens, they say, and sometimes that means you’re standing in a dark hallway for a while (or maybe up to your knees in mud).
I’ve been taking my mountain bike out on the sloppy logging roads in Fraser some days after work (the real trails are still buried in snow), and keep threatening to go kayaking, but I just can’t get the ski season out of my head.
I even bought alpine touring gear so I can enjoy just a few more weeks off-piste. But I’ve become a shell of a man hanging on to a ski season that, like Genevieve who disappeared to another middle school and I never saw again, is just over.
Really it’s time to go to the desserts of Moab like everyone else ” nothing like that crisp, stark, quiet desertscape to let a man see into his own heart.
A little distance might help me remember all of those frigid mornings, the windshield scraping, boot bang, chapped lips, sunburn and liftlines that come with ski season. And the sunshine might help me look forward to the hikes, bike rides, picnics and those glorious afternoon thunderstorms of summer to come.
The ski season is a subtle temptress, though ” the kind that keeps us ski bums living in low-rent squalor for that “just one more winter.” I wish I could quit you.
” Charles Agar wants to remind the true love of his life that he is simply beating a bad metaphor to death this week. You’re the only one for me, baby. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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