It was just a trick with smoke and mirrors but there must be something
magic on the turning away from the door to a snow covered hill.

Old-hat wearing, same old me, skinning up the road with Dan and
Winter. Beware of dog while crossing neighbors yard to another road
behind their house and then up another driveway.

We skirt the backyard of an unfinished house alongside trees and up an
evergreen corridor.

Covered cold by a cotton candy canopy.

Dan's sea level lungs labor, skinning from two miles high.

Up 1,700 feet more into thin air.

Warmth of sun on skin fades to gray swirling weather colliding with us
mere minutes above treeline. Wind bites and whistles. Flapping hoods,
numb noses and stinging fingers press on with a black dog white on one
side up and up and up. Horizontal snowfall whips a rippled white
desert across the ridge, into the corniced abyss. We look over and
wonder "is that 4 inches or forty feet?" and can't tell up from down
from that vertigo headspin.

So on beyond the cornice to what brief flickers of sun reveal to be
seemingly smooth sailing. Dan doesn't believe at first "That's not a
drop right there? Are you sure?" And yes, I'm sure, 'cause I happened
to be looking that way when a yellow ray of light fleeted by with a
school of baby snow devils.

So I traversed first to a long strand of leafless shrubberies showing
us a way by defining down. Down we go and Dan dances first, finding
mildly surprising chalk under inches of new snow too dry to matter.

But then we turn aside and come down a different, drool over it, dive
in and sigh gully, gulping on deeper snow.

Back into the trees we take a break in the shelter of an old gold
mine. Then the sun shows itself again.

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

Schusses and turns down the narrow evergreen road. Cotton candy
canopy. Swerves around corners, cutting switchbacks where woods were
ready. Mmmmm.

Skiing down, exit trees and enter someone's buried backyard. Ski it to
the driveway, down the road, across more private property and down
some stairs to my ground level front door.

Inside, a warm fire and cold gin wait.

Hold the olives.

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