The Moment and the Trickle Down

By: Bill Whaley
27 January, 2019

While the elites gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos, yesterday I exercised my legs and lungs, to and fro on the slopes with a plucky little skier, between the trees, over the rocks, next to the debris peeking out from black diamond runs, among the bumps for which TSV is famous. Despite a lack of replenishment, the snow is particularly soft and flexible and rewarding at the moment. The hard pack is beginning but it’s mostly soft and safe and everywhere easy on the legs.

Thanks to the “next generation” I am experiencing a kind of rebirth. (Yesterday, while skiing on “Ash Pond” I wondered if Joan, daughter and grand-daughter of Ash Pond had skied that run through steep bumps and not-so-hidden rocks and downed trees. Such are the joys of a sunny day on the slopes.

What with Davos and the expanded glories of TSV in mind, or Beto O’Rourke’s observations on a visit to Taos Pueblo, or conversations with artist friends, whose dealers show their stuff everywhere from Taos to Santa Fe to Denver to LA to NY to Miami, I am reminded of how we locals live off the “trickle down.”

There’s a certain irony at TSV, considering the investment of a billionaire, even as the climate changes and, according to scientists, extreme weather is upon us though the Trump-Republicans and their supporters ignore the death throes of glaciers and the oceans rise, while they flog and flaunt fossil fuel, fracking gas, making snow, wasting water on all kinds of useless manufacturing.

In the rhythmic runs at TSV, which concentrate the mind wonderfully, it’s easy to forget the “grifters” and “hustlers,” the gangsters, who occupy the White House and the Capitol. America, this helpless giant, conceived by the framers as an alleged Democracy, seems caught in the thrall of incompetence and the commodification of values, wherein homo economicus runs wild about walls, while turning on and screwing the very people who do the work of the country: at the borders, among the forests, in the kitchens and hotel rooms, on construction sites.

The politics of Washington D.C., once solely focused on greed, seem like a wholistic exercise in incompetence today. In the public sector, we are no longer a nation of the “can do” generations. Now we must find our shining “moment” in private retreats and hopes.

But the focus on the “moment” and on the “present” is what constitutes rest, renewal and resistance.

Here’s an anecdote.

Last week I started down Spencer’s Bowl, a run, which challenges the skier particularly to find a line and rhythm among its fall away bumps. Course I can’t ski like I used to when I routinely did 100 days a year. My brain was aghast at the condition of my legs and lungs. I felt like an old horse, who needed to be put to sleep. I thought I had a couple good years left but it appeared my little skier might pass me in a couple more days.

Last week in my yoga class, one of my instructors mentioned getting stuck on a certain run and I had an epiphany of her own making: all you have to do is breathe in at the beginning of the turn and breathe out on the completion. (Shree Yoga is an odd place to take ski lessons.) That thought in the studio made all the difference this week on the slopes.

Applying the lesson learned, I skied not particularly well but wisely and felt as if there was hope. Legs and lungs seemed more in sync. “It’s possible,” I thought, to renew the vows, given the conditions and the reality of the bump and grind because if you catch the rhythm of the mountain the rewards follow. We did a bunch of black diamonds this week.

My little charge fell asleep on the way home. I slept much better last night. This morning I thought, I might still have a couple of years left before she leaves me in her wake. I’m not sure I can say that for America or even TSV. But we might just enjoy each moment for what it is today (before the curtain call). Quien sabe?

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