“Wouldn’t it be ironic if you got this new ski and there wasn’t any snow in Tahoe this year?” Travis joked, well aware of the journey behind the ski in my living room and how stoked I was to get it on the mountain.

Quadriplegic with modified Mountain Man bi-ski

Well, that was the beginning of December and as unlikely as it seemed then that there hadn’t been any significant snowfall, you can well imagine how loudly that ridiculous rhetorical question was ringing in my ears up until two weeks ago when we at last got a storm that brought some much needed white stuff to the Sierras.

Now whether or not that particular cold front (albeit not as cold as one might’ve liked) signals the end of our uber protracted summer and the opening of some tardy winter storm door, is yet to be seen (the following week’s heat would’ve seemed to suggest otherwise). But whether it does or it doesn’t, or whether or not some meteorological phenomenon keeps my newly stickered, modified ski out of the superpipe in 2012, or, just for the sake of an extreme example, whether or not I get to ski again—ever, isn’t going to kill my high. Not really.

Don’t get me wrong, I love skiing and I want to get on the mountain as soon as yesterday — stoke and adrenaline are as necessary to this quad body of mine as oxygen, sleep, organic farmer’s market veggies and my morning cup of coffee — but it’s not where my ultimate happiness comes from or what defines me (despite the number of folks who’d label me as a “surf/ski rat”. A labeling, mind you, I’d attribute more to my crazy hair than anything else).

No, skiing like the weather or the mountains or all that you can see and touch is situational and will come and go, and my true happiness, my joy, my love are not rooted in situations. And this understanding is tantamount to living this brief existence of ours on this planet with gratitude, fearlessness, wonder and peace.

I’ve written about this before, I know, but I look around me and I see a world that’s trying desperately to find meaning, happiness and peace in things that are situational. And none of these will be found there. Still, I believe the discovery of this understanding is inevitable for all of us, because we already possess it. But when one will discover this in their own lifetime, or what the catalyst will be, I can’t say, but it will happen — even if it’s with one’s last breath.

When Travis made the joke above, he pretty much knew where I was at with all this, which is why he asked it. We’ve been friends a long time and have been through a lot together. He knows me well, and he knows that I know that whether or not I get on the mountain this year is inconsequential in relation to what really matters. If it snows it snows, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. If I ski I ski, if I don’t I don’t. Whatever. It’s all good.

Weather Report

Tahoe La Niña weather report 2012

But let’s come back to this year’s whacky weather a sec. And let’s just say it doesn’t snow or rain again for the rest of this season, well, at the very least that’d be a story to tell, right? I mean, I’ve been in the Bay Area over 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. Now I know the planet is some 4.6 billion years old – give or take a few days – and I imagine, relatively speaking, this dry spell of ours probably isn’t such an odd thing on that timeline, but for us, the inconsequential, myopically focused little hiccups that we are, it is. And for a myriad of reasons.

But just as last year’s La Niña had us all dizzy and wet from the ridiculous amount of snowfall that was dumped on us, it’s probably best to appreciate this particular La Niña for the phenomenon it is; an extra sunny, warm, high-pressure forming, winter scarecrow. Or at least, that’s what this jonesing, snow starved, ginger quadriplegic is doing… in shorts, in winter, in Norcal and with an awe inspired grin on my face every time I head outside.

It certainly makes one stop a moment to take a look at the silliness of expectations, doesn’t it?

Phase 2 of my bi-ski modification: seat angle from Tony Schmiesing on Vimeo.


One comment on “the situation

  • Well, I figured from the pic of you wearing shorts that perhaps winter had taken a pass.

    Been relatively warm here, lowest it’s gotten was -5F. Lots of snow on the Western Slope, but the ski areas farther east are hurting.

    This La Nina is sure hanging on.

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