High up above

Desk warming, it's a time to prepare for upcoming classes, it's a time to plan your weekends, or to catch up on the blog, but after you've done all that, and it's still only quarter past 10, it's a time to drift away in thought. Today, I'm at Dongmyung Middle school, where I spend my Thursdays and Fridays. And unlike the bland office feel of my other desk at Daejeon Middle, this one has a view. Perched up in the foothills, on the edge of the city, from my desk, I can stare longingly at a wild forest. Across the hall, which I often wander, a magnificent view of the city sprawls out across the valley. But unlike most days, in which the vibrant colors of the mismatched roofs and modern towers shine in the morning sunlight, today everything is white.

With each passing flake, floating softly in the brisk winter wind I'm reminded of a day not so long ago, but half a world away.

They called for eight inches, but as the storm clouds cleared, nearly two feet of untouched snow sat out on the trails. For months I'd longed for a day at Vail, with no means of transport, but now, with my father in town, everything had aligned. With the sun breaking through, we boarded the gondola to set out on the day. For hours we plowed through untouched trails, carving our own paths in dry champagne powder. Navigating trees, and avoiding the crowds, the day reached its peak as we dropped into the outer reaches of the south bowl.

The organ work of "fix you" by "Coldplay" filled the canals of my ears, as my board floated silently, yet still increased in speed. The sun had gone, but in its place, a steady stream of thick flakes poured down at an alarming rate, covering the few scarce tracks from earlier in the day. With only a few yards of vision, noone, nothing, and nowhere else mattered, just the moment, and my board, as I floated along in a globe.

The powdery snow, now up to my waste, parted with ease. Then, the chorus broke, as the treeless bowl gave way to a forest of lush green pines, and leafless aspens. The terrain flattened, and the music fell silent. Now entirely alone, I carefully carved my way through the trees, as an overwhelming sense of calm filled my chest. Through tight spaces, I squeezed and wound.

In a clearing, I stopped for a moment and inhaled, not just the fresh forest air, but the peace of the silence, the beauty of the trees, and the magnitude of the moment. An exhale followed, and out went the fears, the anxiety of my big move, and the worries of the unknown.

Over my right shoulder, a silhouette appeared.  My father, glided past me, and I dove down in pursuit. Back into the forest, and eventually out onto a trail. I stood at the bottom, holding back tears at how beautiful a moment I'd just lived.

Aside from one, single photo I snapped of myself in the forest that day, I have no physical evidence that it ever occurred. I have no clips to look back on, and no videos to edit, but I do maintain a memory, and I always will. One that I can go to without service, or screens, one that I can visit when I sleep, and sometimes when I dream. A memory, as pure as the moment itself.

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