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To Look, Listen, and Feel

Solitude in a World of Chaos

Some people joke that I must’ve have been born with skis on my feet – not because they’ve seen me ski but rather because they’ve seen my obsession for it. The saddest thing is that few people can really understand why I enjoy it so much; mostly because they’ve never been able to witness me in the apex of my skiing enjoyment.

Sure, I frequent the local ski hill on a very regular basis, weather permitting. But all the resorts near my home are completely ‘unnatural.’ It rarely actually snows, the snowmaking guns are equivalent to standing next to a jet engine, kids run you off the slopes, if you decide to make a big turn you’ll end up in the woods, and going downhill is an ever changing obstacle course consisting of fallen snowboarders and skis with no known owners. Don’t get me wrong, the above is all very fun and I’ll choose this over many other activities any day of the week, but it’s not how I feel in love with skiing.

"Skiers are psychologically unique this way-desiring camaraderie while constantly seeking solace. The rhythm of each session unites us, yet the beauty of each day is usually measured by how few people get in our way." (I can not find the source of the quote. I believe it came from a Skiing or Powder Magazine many years ago. If I ever find out who wrote this, I’ll let you know.)

This isn’t the first time I’ve ever heard something like this; in fact it’s completely interchangeable in most activities that I partake in. But I haven’t seen it written so elegantly before. I know I’ve never said, “I saw tons of people today. It was awesome!” and in fact, I haven’t heard anybody ever say that. Success in a day of skiing is to go out and see nothing but a few tracks – none preferred. There is no better feeling than to stumble upon an area where the powder is deep, the skiing is good, and few have skied through despite it being late afternoon. To stop, listen, and hear nothing – to stop, look, and see nothing – to realize that you’ve found your solace. Look, listen and feel. Do not forget to feel. There are few things in life that are more dear; there are few things in life more beautiful.

Yet the first thing that comes out of my mouth is, “Man I wish someone was here with me,” as if I’ve forgotten that the reasons why I wondered along the unbeaten path was find solitude! I have a burning to share this wonderful experience with somebody, yet the reason why I’ve obtained it is because I can not see anybody. It’s about getting away from anything human-made.

By nature we seek camaraderie by finding similar interests. Better yet, we seek those who have these interests for the same reasons. The path of camaraderie is often a much harder one for this reason. Shared interests can not become shared experiences unless there are common reasons. And after all, unless your part of my experience, you’re just in my way.

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