Today is the first day of the Mt. Ashland season. This means that a lot of people will have new affirmation for their otherwise rather pointless existences. Many video snowboarding games will rust in their plastic boxes for the season, their owners finally having a shot at the real thing.
Every year on the mountains opening day many of my friends begin to change in ways that a non-winter sportsman just can't understand. They wake up early, but not for work. They come home sore and tired, but plan on going again tommorow. They blow off important goof-off sessions in favor of a little fresh "pow-pow." To me this seems perverse.
Winter is supposed to be a time of sloth. Look at the mighty grizzly, or any other proud hibernating animal. Cold mornings and harsh environments urge one, especially a lazy one, to acquiesce to nature's inhospitality. The most lazy people I know are snowboarders and skiiers. In the off season they often sit for long periods of time reminiscing last year's carvings and playing snowboard video games. Mountain culture has created a sort of reverse-hibernating that foothillers like me can't comprehend.
To me the mountian is prettier when snowcapped, but that is about all. I look at it from below with great respect and imagine that I can see all my suddenly energized friends shushing down its slopes with glee. The mountian opening makes me feel lonley, like I'm missing the boat (or board). I feel as though the Mountain is what makes life in the off-season interesting in Ashland, and I can't appreciate it.
The mountain's opening day is always bittersweet. I am glum because I know I will be seeing much less of my friends, and I will be missing out on some fun times at altitudes far to great for me. I am happy because I can indulge in some vicarious living through the mountian narratives that will soon consitute much more of my overheard conversation, which is what winter is really all about for me. Watching movies in the afternoon with hot beverages, experimenting with chilli and pretending it is a secret family recipe and of course overheard tales of careening glory on Mt. Ashland.
While there is a certain depression I feel when the mountain opens, I can optomistically brush it aside, knowing that statistically one of my friends will soon be badly injured as a result of their passion. This is natures way of correcting man's strange resistence to the hibernation season. In a cast, my unfortunate friend will be sedate and forced to come over to watch movies and appreciate the mountain as scenery from out my fogged-up windows.