Summer 2004   
Powder in Difficult Creek, photo Bob Chamberlain

A ski life is full of great days, great turns, great ski trips to far-away mountains, and of course, great skiing friends. Bob Chamberlain is one of my oldest and best skiing friends.
Bob is a student of mathematics and philosophy, a photographer in the Cartier Bresson tradition who has always kept his camera trained toward mountains and mountain people, and a lifelong powder hound. We;ve spent a lot of time together, on the slopes and off. A few years ago, after a particularly stimulating dinner where the talk revolved, as always,around skiing, I went home and wrote this poem for Bob and his wife Karen.
I hope to share more of Bob Chamberlain's truly classical ski Images in future issues of this site. For now, Bob, thanks for the memories!

a dinnertable conversation
for Bob & Karen Chamberlain

The path, initially at least,
seems clear, the skier at first

skis dotted lines — turns,
traverses, schusses — & finally learns

something called technique, only then
can he discover snow & begin

to carve out real runs from this white
& yielding medium: there isn’t any right

or wrong in such descents
& for a while skiing makes sense.

But with enough time, with no
more fear & a calm mind, the snow

itself begins to change: more & more
ice resembles powder. As before

we return to abstractions & find
the mountain has its own lines,

planes, shapes & curves: go back
to skiing dotted lines — a black

on white pattern of movement & form,
pure form — a new world is born.

But we’re still not there, behind
even this intersection of mountain & mind

we sense something always simpler, skiing
not as metaphor but synonym of being.

 Summer 2004  
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© Lito Tejada-Flores unless otherwise credited.