Postcard: Frisco, Colorado

Ah, mountain creativity. Some people plant flowers. Other people lynch laptops. I don’t think we’ll see this scene on the cover of Fine Gardening magazine, but it does provoke thought among people who wander past, which is more than I can say for my yard. (Click image to enlarge)

Photo by Devon O'Neil
Photo by Devon O’Neil

Land in the Sky: Hidden Lake

Mount-AnalogueHidden Lake lies in the shadow of Mount Analogue. We set out on a trail to find it. The path was lined with low willow and dwarf fireweed. Clouds hung low over the peak. The air was chill. We walked a long way and gained some elevation. We came to a place we believed was our destination. We sat down by a grassy pond we later learned is called Obvious. We enjoyed our rest there, unaware of our mistake. The error was revealed well after the fact, when we got back to where we began. Now we know: Hidden is a lake that loves to hide. Maybe we’ll try it again someday.

Postcard: Durban, South Africa

Durban is one of South Africa’s surfing hotbeds, home to some of the world’s premier barreling beachbreaks. But 30 miles inland from the famous, high-rise-lined beachfront sits a different kind of landscape. Dry, prickly, and woven together by a steep network of trails, the Valley of a Thousand Hills is home to natural athletes who run up mountains like the rest of us run down them. I spent a day there last week and got to wondering whether I’d be any fleeter of foot if I had grown up there instead of where I did. I kind of think I would be. (Click image to enlarge)

Photo by Devon O'Neil
Photo by Devon O’Neil

THE ANTHROPOCENTRIC ANTHROPOCENE SHAM/SCAM

 

THE ANTHROPOCENTRIC ANTHROPOCENE SHAM/SCAM

By Dick Dorworth

IMG_3789“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”
Edward O. Wilson

“I don’t like formal gardens. I like wild nature. It’s just the wilderness instinct in me, I guess.”
Walt Disney

People whose wilderness instincts haven’t been ground into pabulum by the daily grind and who still know and acknowledge the differences between a forest and a tree farm, a meadow and a lawn, a river with and without dams and the relative values of long-term environmental health and short-term profits, also know that homo sapiens is a part of nature, the ecology and the web of life of Planet Earth. As E.O. Wilson succinctly points out, mankind is neither master of life on earth nor essential to its existence. Members of our species who are incognizant of this reality are, at best, deluded. Words are insufficient to describe those who appear incognizant but in reality are not. Among the many precious, irreplaceable treasures of life, including clear air, clean water, life sustaining seas, mountain glaciers, healthy soil, jungles, forests and democratic economy already being sacrificed to their delusions and addiction to greed are the quality and security of the lives of your grandchildren and mine.
That pisses me off. In my view it should piss off everyone at a deep gut level. Every human, with or without grandchildren, is inextricably connected to everything that lives—past, present and future—and every individual thought, word, action, inaction and standard of integrity affects the whole. I wish for my grandchildren the best of healthy, vibrant, engaged lives guided by wilderness instincts and compassion. Anthropogenic global warming climate change deniers and other adherents of/participants in the anthropocentric anthropocene sham/scam (AASS) don’t give a shit about your grandchildren or mine or about the other irreplaceable treasures of life. Deniers are the 21st century’s mental/emotional/spiritual/ethical descendants of European Medieval inquisitors of the middle ages and the perpetrators of the Salem Witch Trials of 17th century America. These people, literally, do not think twice about sacrificing the living and the unborn to the status quo of dead and discredited superstitions. The AASS’s standards of honesty, intelligence, morality, ethics and compassion are perhaps best exemplified today by Dick Cheney, who was/is happy to take time out from justifying his better known wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to serve as point man in AASS’s war on reality and scientific consensus.
It’s been 500 years since the inquisition placed Galileo Galilei under house arrest for the rest of his life for the ‘heresy’ of publishing his accurate scientific observations. Galileo, honored today as the “Father” of modern observational astronomy, physics and modern science, observed, among other things, that the Earth moved around the Sun and could not be the center of the universe. This reality was in conflict with “the” church’s dogma that the sun moved around the Earth which was the center of the universe. Galileo’s observations also threatened the anthropocentric delusions about mankind’s place in that universe on which “the” church thrived. The good news in the obtuse, cruel violence of the inquisition is that Galileo got off easy, relatively speaking. The bad news is that anthropocentric craziness is alive and well in the modern world.
500 years later AASS has replaced the inquisition with something more sophisticated and amorphous but just as brutal, stupid, parasitic and destructive to the best potential of mankind and the ecological health of the Earth.
Anthropocentrism is the fallacious idea that human beings are the center of the universe and the most significant creature on Earth. E.O. Wilson puts that self-absorbed idea in perspective.
Officially, the majority of scientists agree that earth is currently in the Holocene (meaning ‘recent whole’) marking the period since the last ice age nearly 12,000 years ago. The so-called Anthropocene is a proposed term for the present geological epoch since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century began to impact the climate and ecosystems of Earth. As such, it is a recognition of the destructive influence humans have had and a backhanded, unintended denial of the deniers, but as currently used it conflates the power of destruction with the gift of creation All of the older and more traditional ‘cenes’, as in Holo, Plio, Oligo and Paleo, took millions of years to form, but the anthropocene sham/scammers don’t have millions of years. 300 years is plenty of time to build an AASS cene for those whose quarterly profit reports, particularly from those extractive/polluting/poisoning industries too well known to need listing, are the center of their universe. Irony weeps.
AASSers have embraced the famous anthropocentric quip/quote by Stewart Brand “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” (Which he later updated to what might be termed the AASS motto: “We are as gods and have to get good at it.”) But a simple deconstruction of Brand’s flippant if tempting solution to, for instance, human caused global climate change reveals it to be a shameless/shameful sham/scam. “We are as gods” is anthropocentrism at its most deluded and dangerous. The natural world, the environment, wilderness and the wild existed on earth for millions of years before human beings appeared. The very concept of God or gods is a recent human invention, a projection of the human mind no one has ever seen and which is a very different reality from the creation of a blade of grass which everyone has seen. “We” cannot create so much as a blade of grass, though since inquisition times we have discovered how to better destroy, genetically modify, domesticate and turn blades of grass (temporarily) into vassals instead of members of the biotic community of the web of life, their rightful place.
We are not as Gods any more than we are as Martians, and we cannot get good at being whatever it is that godsIMG_3874 do as we cannot get good at living on Mars. And it is telling that some AASSers are already talking about colonizing Mars after our reign of being as gods on Earth has ended. Details about our future on Mars haven’t been worked out, but we are as good at pretending that details don’t matter as we are not at being as gods.
AASSers cloak themselves in a green mantle synthetically dyed by such organizations as The Nature Conservancy that consistently and oxymoronically insist that nature is dead and gone and that they are protecting nature by the very science and economic policies and dogmas that are killing it. It is worth remembering that the Koch brothers have given millions of dollars to The Nature Conservancy, and the many mantles covering the Koch brothers are the green of money not of grass.
The Anthropocentric Anthropocene Sham/Scam and its supporters like Cheney, the Kochs, the Nature Conservancy and others less well known have allowed greed, dogma, superstition and hubris to blind them to what Lau Tzu pointed out more than 2500 years ago:

“As for those who would take the whole world
To tinker as they see fit,
I observe that they never succeed:
For the world is a sacred vessel
Not made to be altered by man.
The tinker will spoil it;
Usurpers will lose it.”

Don’t lose it. Keep your wilderness instincts along with the world.

Land in the Sky: About to End

About-to-EndEarly July early morning. Steady rain all night. It continues. A gray-green mist shrouds Paradise Hill in the Catskill Mountains. The deer are bedded down. A solitary wood thrush, perched perdue, sings his song for the joy of it. The collie puppy barks at every leaf drip. He barks and he barks and he barks. A sudden waft of honeysuckle sends the heart reeling. The rain is always about to end.

Postcard: Rochester, Minnesota

A family reunion on my wife’s side beckoned us to Rochester, Minnesota, last weekend. Twenty-eight out of a possible 29 attendees made the trip, coming from as far away as Winnipeg, Manitoba. Sunday morning, a handful of us walked down to Cascade Creek and a swing that my wife used to play on when she was little. This is my wife’s sister giving her son (our nephew) his first taste of the same sensation they felt when they were kids. Not pictured: some of the hungriest mosquitoes I have ever met, swarming the creek bed where it has rained more or less nonstop for a month. (Click image to enlarge)

Photo by Devon O'Neil
Photo by Devon O’Neil

Mountain Passages: Iceland Ruminations

Mountain Passages: Ruminations on Vikings

Vikings have gotten bad rap. It’s true that for about 300 years the boys did get in their longboats and pretty much terrorize every coastland in Europe, but I was just in Iceland and I came away with a different impression of who these people were.

The Vikings were like mountain people in that they were rough and tumble and in tune with their environment; they built extensive farms on just about every arable piece of Iceland; they had a very strong sense of independence and developed a kind of early democracy in Iceland, and through nascent democracy they settled internal conflicts, mostly without hacking each other to death.

I’m sitting on a beach in Iceland made up entirely of black smooth roundish rocks that clatter when the surf recedes. The air temperature is 50ish with a slight wind, the sky is overcast and there is a mist falling. I keep looking for the guy who comes around taking drink orders but I’m apparently a little ahead of the summer season here. In fact, other than Blue Eyes and two people a 100-yards down the beach, there is no one here.
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The interpretive sign said that this spot is where fishermen landed their boats. It’s a calm day for Iceland with maybe three-foot surf that would make landing any boat somewhat tricky. I can’t imagine what it would be like to try to land a boat here in a storm. Most likely, they would have had to stand off until the weather improved, but we’re talking about open boats. And yes we’re talking about longboats, and Vikings. We’re talking about ruffians from what is now Norway who settled Iceland in the ninth century and built a country on fishing, farming, trading, and pillaging coastal towns throughout Europe. The Icelanders still fish, farm and trade but the pillaging stopped soon after their conversion to Christianity around 1,000 AD.

The Icelanders governed themselves with a combination of an elected parliament and judiciary called Althing that met in an open field about this time of year. The Althing is sort of analogous to Rendezvous in a social sense but much more legally oriented than Rendezvous. There was a social component to Althing. But more it was an elected legislative body from the four regions of Iceland that in turn elected a leader called a Law Speaker who memorized the law and commented, interpreted, and made decisions when necessary. Later on the Althing added what was essentially a supreme court to adjudicate civil disagreements.

Blue Eyes is looking at the rock cairns that folks have built out of the beach stones. Okay, I understand what cairns are for. If you look closely while driving, you can see cairns along the Ring Road that were built to mark some of the original trails here in Iceland. What I don’t understand is why people feel compelled to build cairns that don’t really mark anything. I suppose it to mark their passage through this place or exercise a creative urge. I tell her that the cairns have been built by very strong elves who are back in the parking lot pillaging our luggage while we wander the beach looking at their cairns. She smiles but ignores me.
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There is a strong mystical vibe about Iceland. Partly it must come from the physical appearance of the place such as a huge white glacier sitting over a verdant green field littered with sheep. Or deep blue fjords with walls of mountains topped with snowfields. It’s a magical place. And because of their pagan religion that spoke of shape shifters (people who turn into bears and wolves) and beserkers (warriors who go out of control) the Vikings get tied into this mysticism. Elves and trolls? Them too. All you have to do is look.

I’m back watching the surf and thinking about religion. I was born a Christian but not particularly proud of the fact. First because I can’t stand the fanatical Christians who would have no doubt pissed off Jesus with their literalism and chauvinism. And second because I have come to believe more in rocks, trees, living creatures, and rivers than in the deities of organized religions. And if I speak to a god he or she is usually a specific god like the, “I’ll-never-do-this-again-if-you-let-me-live” Mountain God. In addition to mountain gods there are ocean gods and gods for whatever you love. Yup, even war gods like the Viking’s Odin.

The history of religious conversions is soaked in blood of those who would not convert to the religion then in power. This didn’t happen in Iceland. At one point there were a good number of Vikings who had been converted to Christianity and there remained a good number of Vikings who wanted to stick with their pagan religion. The questions was taken to the Althing and given to the Law Speaker to decide. Imagine if you will a thousand or so Christian Vikings and a thousand or so pagan Vikings who were about ready to fight over the issue of religion. The Law Speaker, who was a pagan, simply decided that for the good of all of Iceland there would be just one religion and that would be Christianity, but any pagan could continue in his pagan rituals in his own home. It worked. There was no blood shed over the conversion to Christianity in Iceland.

There was another interpretive sign along the path and four round rocks of various sizes below it. Best guess is that the smallest stone weighed 60-70 pounds and the largest stone maybe 250-300 pounds. I didn’t even try to move it. The sign said that to qualify for a spot on a fishing boat an Icelander had to be able to pickup the second heaviest rock that weighed more than 200 pounds. Let me see if I have this right—fishing off this coast is life-threatening even today, getting on and off the beach in an open boat required huge amounts of skill and certainly some luck, spending hours or even days in an open boat in the North Atlantic defines cold and uncomfortable—and you had to qualify for the work by being able to lift a 200 pound rock.

There is evidence that these folks got their boats as far as the eastern Mediterranean and to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Regardless of the Viking reputation, and who wouldn’t have their day ruined by a boatload of berserkers landing their longboat on their shoreline, these folks were intrepid sailors and as good as the Polynesians at navigating open water.

We have been on the Ring Road (Route 1) that generally follows the perimeter of the island for over 800 miles. We started at the airport outside Reykjavik four days ago in a rental car that feels like a closet on wheels. It’s true that if you really want to see the backcountry of Iceland, you’ll need to rent a four-wheel drive, like everything in Iceland, four-wheel drive rentals are pricy.

Even from what is essentially a road built for tourists, the landscape of Iceland is nothing short of magnificent with waterfalls just about everywhere. In a way it is like touring a huge national park with orderly looking farms along the way with white buildings and red roofs that are tucked into the hillsides surrounded by free- range sheep.
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Several days ago, we came around a bend and there in the distance was a huge ice wall. We were on a sort of alluvial plain crisscrossed with rushing streams and there was the butt end of a glacier. We stopped and I couldn’t stop looking at it. Like most mountain folk, I may have been just thinking about a route up but that’s too obvious—we all do that. More I was just struck by how grand this huge blue piece of ice was that sort of hung there in the mountains. Some miles later there was a lake close to the road that was filled with icebergs. I felt like an ant peering over the lip of a margarita at all these clumps of ice floating to the sea.

Enough of this beach ruminating. It’s addictive, like sitting on a mountainside watching the weather. I could stay here all day but it’s time to head back to the car and cruise-on down the road to a couple days in Reykjavik, taking in the sights and sounds of a cosmopolitan European city and eating a good meal or two. And maybe we’ll sit on the dock and watch the midnight sun slip across the horizon if: (1) we can stay up that late and (2) if the sun can break through the clouds.

Alan Stark lives with a Blue Eyed person and her dog in Boulder and Breckenridge.

Land in the Sky: A World Government

A-World-GovernmentLate one summer morning, an unexpected car pulls into the drive. I don’t recognize the vehicle. It proceeds slowly down and comes to a stop in front of the barn. This arrival is a big surprise, as we live in the middle of nowhere. The only strangers who show up on the doorstep are the lost. Lucky for them I have some good directions.

Anyway, the crunch of car wheels on the gravel drive awakens the collie puppy from his morning nap. We go to the front door, eagerly, and open it. A chubby middle-aged man with ill-fitting spectacles approaches along the walk. The collie puppy is happily barking away in his usual who-the-hell-are-you?! enthusiasm for strangers, which they—knowing nothing about collies and especially collie puppies—mistake for aggression.

The chubby middle-aged man with ill-fitting specs reaches into a black satchel and pulls out a small pamphlet. He hands it to me from where he’s standing at the bottom of the deck steps, not wanting to come any closer to the enthusiastic collie puppy, who I am restraining by the collar.

“Thank you,” I say.

“You’re always welcome,” he says, mustering a nervous smile. His brow is sweaty. He tells me once more that I’m always welcome. Then he beats a hasty retreat to his car and pulls away.

The collie puppy and I go back into the house. I glance at the pamphlet. On the cover are some words:

A WORLD GOVERNMENT

Why do we need one?

Is it possible?

Who is qualified to rule?

Hear the answers at a free public event.

This is your invitation.

Inside are more words: “Earth’s New Ruler—Who Really Qualifies?” A good question, but one I’m ill-prepared to answer. I can’t even say for sure who’s qualified to serve as supervisor for our small town.

I read a little further in the pamphlet and realize that this is an invitation to a convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The pamphlet was printed in Canada. It has a bar code on the back so you can scan it with your smart phone to “find a location near you.” I have neither smart phone nor much access to a vehicle. And the collie puppy still gets sick on long car rides. The inevitable sadness of an invitation declined begins to settle upon me. What can I say, I’m a Pisces.

I guess I’ll just hang onto the invitation, in case one of you might be interested. You can stop by and pick it up. Let me know if you need directions.

Land in the Sky: Beyond This Point

Climbing-MuseumI stopped in at Rock and Snow, the venerable climbing shop in New Paltz, New York. Its address, at least for me, is Memory Lane, in the very shadow of the Shawangunks. Inside the front door is an alcove that houses a small museum of climbing gear from days gone by. Displayed in glass cases are old ropes, vintage hardware, timeworn climbing shoes, and moldering guidebooks to the Gunks. Although I’ve never been much of a rock climber—the genial Southeast Buttress of Cathedral Peak in Yosemite being the most daunting of my meager ascents—I did learn how to climb in the Gunks, oh so many years ago.

In 1979 I was a college student studying forestry in Maine. That summer I was hired by the Mohonk Preserve (in those days called the Mohonk Trust) to serve as a “wilderness ranger.” I lived in a drafty shack by myself, a mile or more from any human neighbor, on the shore of a scruffy body of water called Duck Pond. My duties included managing a small walk-in campground and conducting an ecological research project. A “gas shortage” that summer meant I pretty much had the place to myself. So I spent a lot of time reading books and hanging around with the “rock rangers” up at the Trapps. The rock rangers sold passes and patrolled the cliffs of what is probably the most congested climbing area in North America, even when there’s a gas shortage. In those days, the rock rangers lived in their own shacks at a place called the Uberfall.

The rock ranger in charge was a jovial fellow in his late twenties by the name of Chuck Liff. Chuck had a big beard, a big laugh, and an even bigger heart. He was a kind of big brother to me that summer, and taught me how to climb. No matter how despondent I sometimes became over events great or small that were looming in those times—whether a wobbly romance, or the drifting plumes from Three Mile Island, or the prospect of Skylab falling from the heavens, or the roof of my shack being ripped off during a microburst—Chuck was an unfailing spring of good cheer. He always welcomed me and the other rangers into his camp. Many an evening we’d sit around the fire at the base of the cliff, shadows bouldering along the edge of the light, and devour big pans of something called “Core Meltdown Cornbread”, as Chuck regaled us with stories of the mountains, told long jokes, or read passages from Edward Abbey to stir our enthusiasm for a little environmental advocacy. Those were good days, and—looking back now—I can say they had a profoundly greater effect on the course of my life than the four years of forestry education I endured in Maine. I never saw Chuck again after that summer, but I thought of him often, and fondly.

Thanks to the internet, not long ago I was able to track Chuck down. I discovered that after completing his graduate work in Systems Ecology, he went on to career with the EPA and then the US Forest Service. I found a Forest Service webpage that invited me to “Contact Chuck Liff”. The instructions said: “Please enter your contact information and comment below. Please note–if you incorrectly enter your email address, Chuck Liff will not be able to contact you.” I did not provide my contact information. I was sure Chuck wouldn’t be getting back to me. Thanks again to the internet, I knew that he had passed away, at age sixty, a month before. Pancreatic cancer.

As I stood there in the alcove of Rock and Snow, looking over that once-familiar climbing gear now entombed behind museum glass, the grief that had been dogging me for the past month—over Chuck’s death, the missed opportunities, the mere and savage passage of time—became more acute. I might as well have been standing in a funeral parlor.

But then I turned from the glass sarcophagi and saw on the wall an 8×10 photo somebody had tacked up. It was a picture of Chuck—at the age I remember him—along with a couple of his climbing friends. They are standing smiling atop a soaring peak in the American west, big blue sky swooping down around them, range upon range of mountains cascading out into bright distances. The three friends are holding a weather-beaten Park Service sign that reads: “Climbing Registration Required For Travel Beyond This Point”. Clearly a prank. They had hauled that sign up there with them to the summit. No doubt a joke devised by Chuck himself.

Below this glorious photo is a caption that serves as a memorial. It says: “Chuck Liff Loved the Gunks, Was a Preserve Ranger, And Now Is Traveling Beyond This Point.” What’s more, registration is no longer required, apart from what is claimed by the heart.Beyond-This-Point

The God of Skiing: Chapter 29, Saint-Exupery

Ed’s Note: Few ski bums have perfected the art of living the ski life better than Mountain Gazette’s editor-at-large, Peter Kray. The man has spent years seeing the sport from every angle—from the finish line of the Vancouver Olympics, to safety breaks in the Jackson Hole backcountry, to the halls of the SIA trade show in Vegas, to hiking A-Basin’s East Wall with his dad and brother, to racing as a kid at Eldora, to slumming it up in Austria, Portillo, Alaska, Santa Fe… His book, The God of Skiing, is due out this fall and he will be sharing excerpts from it here at the Gazette for the next few months. Enjoy.

THE GOD OF SKIING

Chapter 29
Saint-Exupery

The Rettenbach Glacier is as steep and tree-less as a sheet snapping in
the wind. A gondola runs over the course where models on a stage were lipsynching
to Austro-pop anthems. In the VIP tent the competitors walked
down the buffet line in black numbered bibs like racehorses with the saddles
still on. The cheers for them would blow down the mountain. It was loudest
for the Austrians. But for Miller you could hear it growing like a wave,
almost primal the way it rang.

He was fastest by far in the second run. The Europeans said he skied
like he was “Riding a bull,” pushing his skis from his heels to gain speed as
the boards slipped down the hill and he tried to catch up to them. “He does
not care what t-ey t-ink. Only ski-eeng mat-airs to heem.

Miller could win by magnificent portions, or crash so spectacularly it
seemed as if the reins had been jerked from his hands. And it reminded me
of Strau, how he learned to ski in New Hampshire on icy nights under the
lights like skating practice on the pond. The bloody noses and sore elbows
from the gates, and sharp-banged blondes drinking wine coolers with names
like Heidi and Kim.

Your friend who died? Thees was t-e seas-own?

“No,” I said, and thought of how when I walked out of the pressroom
the moon-eyed girls were already 10 deep, blinking for a glimpse of “the
American.”

“It just wasn’t until October that they found him.”

We went for dinner at a hunting lodge with hostesses in fraulein
costumes. Cars were off the road and there was only room downstairs at the
bar. The special was pfeffer steak and carafes of the house red wine.

We were joined by Martin, a ski shop owner who used to be a butcher,
who talked about all the different cuts of meat and the way different types of
women ordered them: the housekeepers that leaned against the counter until
he thought the glass would cave in, the young wives that just stared until he
asked what they were thinking, and the divorcees who wanted to know how
sweet the meat was, and what temperature for cooking.

“Men just want to know how it tastes,” Martin said, sniffing his wine
with his great long nose. “But women want the whole scenario of the thing.”

He was about to explain the “whole scenario,” when the steak came,
served on big white plates with French fries and carrots and the perfect
orange cursive sauce dripped presentation. The meat was thick and cooked
perfectly pink and all three of us were quiet and happy, eating the steak and
mopping up the sauce first with the golden brown fries then the soft white
bread until we smiled around at each other like we were waking from a
dream. “May-bee a lee-tle beer?” Jean-Marc suggested when the wine was
gone. “Or purr-haps zee Weel-yums?

The Williams was served in fluted glasses like thimbles of gasoline.
We sniffed the crystal fruit and sipped it like it was someone we were
kissing; that detached fire that burns down your throat with the fermented
memory of the sun. “T-e best t-ing of alcohol, is t-at time stands still when
you are drink-ing
,” Jean-Marc said, looking at no one. And I thought of
tables in time, shirtsleeves rolled up to the elbows and lovers, brothers and
friends. I thought that few people in the world are as happy as the Austrians,
to make such an alcohol that your mind can crave like fire on your tongue.
We seemed to float up the stairs, into the cold pushing the warmth
even further within. The lights rose like embers toward the boulevard of bars
where we walked to a pub called Bier Himmel and spoiled the night with too
many Wiesse bieres, sucking diesel from the buses up the long mountain
road to the glacier in the morning, trying like every skier does to ski out the
alcohol with run after run.

But that night on the road Jean-Marc said God was always there,
somewhere in the starry sky, as long as someone believed in him. That in
every great idea, eternity begins again. And we never really leave this world,
but remain forever in some soulful kind of radiation.

It is the ener-gee of liv-eeng!

He said some of us are filled with such a spirit of life we inspire
people we never even meet, or that even live in our lifetime. For him it was
Antoine de St. Exupery, the French pilot and writer who disappeared near
Marseille in World War II and who wrote Wind, Sand and Stars.

Jean-Marc said “St. Ex” taught the “t-e beauty of a life in motion.
Years later, he was devastated when they found the wreck age of St.
Exupery’s plane. Why, he wondered had they not just left those broken
pieces hidden beneath the waves and sand?

Ev-a-ree-buddy dies,” he said that night, still imagining St. Ex
somewhere above us in the nighttime sky, writing and flying. “But when t-ey
die, you Kant! die wit t-em.