Life Punctuated by Skiing & Writing

Meanwhile, Back At The Hermitage

Cue the static, add reverb, fade to announcer:

“From an undisclosed safe-space in the High New Mexico Mountains. Quarantined but not silenced, fearful yet unafraid (most days),  thinking, pondering, musing but most of all in need of a haircut…it’s High Desert Writer…” Cue more static…add in applause…and…fade…


Author surrounded by his COVID19 Lockdown Comforts Along With Best Friend “Wilson.”

If I had a podcast or some other kind of show I like to imagine that’s how the intro might sound during these uncertain times. Clearly, I may have too much time on my hands or maybe you too are reading this from the comfort of your Corona Virus bunker?

So it’s like day forty-something since I packed up shop at Ski Santa Fe’s Snow Sports School. Those last few days were bittersweet, a spring storm dropping fresh powder on the mountain with the promise of more on the way reminding us that Mother Nature can be well, a mother…

The chairlifts sitting idle over the virgin white fluffy stuff painting a sad ironic sight, particularly when you drove up the mountain earlier in the day only to remain inside. My duties normally entailing being out in that godsend,  alas were elsewhere. Like checking in uniforms before spraying them with Lysol. Then kicking the staff and their equipment unceremoniously out the locker room door. But not before saying farewell to my fellow travelers, shellshocked by the sudden closure and unexpected loss of income.

Skiing, and riding soulmates of the gentlest kind. True salt of the earth types trying to make the best of it we shrugged offering heartfelt goodbyes. Not so much with a hug, handshake, or even an elbow bump, but more like a stay away from me you potentially diseased Mutha-F…

I’m sure we all meant well, wishing everyone a safe off-season before racing each other for the door. Then to the parking lot so we might beat somebody, anybody to a store. Our superior athleticism allowing us to get to the toilet paper before that elderly woman, or if she was really fast, having the stamina to go toe to toe with her in a wrestling match over the last package. Fortunately, CBD was in good supply. You know, necessary to soothe all those aches and pains from teaching people how to mostly not kill themselves all season.

An early end to an awesome ski season and all the nuttiness to go with it aside, the fact of the matter is not a whole lot changed for me. Unless you count fear, panic, and the fear that if I was not sufficiently panicked someone might report me.

I’ve begun to feel almost guilty for living normally, well normal for me anyway. Such is the life of a humble scribe, who thanks to his lucky stars found a way to write and ski without starving. Or worse, not able to afford the fine scotch whiskey and good cigars, to which he’s grown accustomed.

The off-season is when I write, rewrite, edit, publish then start over with another project. A hobby-writer not so much interested in being discovered as to get the voices out of my head and into someone else’s. It is a labor of love, and healthier than being medicated. Plus yeah, I make a little dough.

Not doing those things all winter recharges the batteries so I can come back, dust off my computer, try to find my files, and then review my work. After getting over the shock of the abomination that I thought sounded good when it spewed forth from my fingertips when I last sat down to create magic, I get back to work, immersing myself into another world. The only thing better than a good acid trip, I’m told anyway, is a good leap into another dimension, alternate universe, or even time. Writing, like reading, takes you to those places.

Winter and summer aren’t just opposites that attract, it’s a dichotomy of work environments in which I am extroverted in one, meeting and conversing with people all day long.  Then practically living as a hermit in the other. Writing is a solitary endeavor and a great Social-Distancing occupation. Recently I’ve had to consider that I might be an Ambivert, disliking the company of all people some of the time. Or maybe it’s where I dislike being around some people all of the time. Eh, either way…

Coming down the mountain not much has really changed, except that I can’t go to the gym, which means I’m reduced to going for morning runs in the foothills where there are few souls, save the coyotes in the distance looking for a fatter meal, or the rabbits trying to avoid the circling hawks. If nothing else our fair State of New Mexico is sparsely populated, despite being the fifth-largest in landmass. Then I go home to do some bodyweight exercises all of which are good, but I’m losing weight without the strength training, disappointing the coyotes. Yes I know, ironic isn’t it?

The other thing is that I can’t go out for is my beloved afternoon americano, well I can but it’s through the drive-thru at Starbucks, which is okay, just not as good as my big warm ceramic cup at Humble Coffee.  A cozy place were the environment, like all good similar establishments, is oh so conducive, to well, to something I’m sure. Why else would all these people go to these places, pecking away on laptops looking so creative? With all the coffee shops closings will there now be a shortage of great novels being released? The horror!

Finding it hard to not indulge in narcissism during these dark days, I do draw the line at Facebook; a time suck, even on its best day. I miss the old days where my Friends were merely Constitutional Scholars, not infectious disease experts. But those of you in fights with your domestic partners, opposing experts and other mental giants, keep it coming! That’s the kind of Joe Exotic entertainment we can not get enough of!

Yes, there are a lot of stupid people populating social media, the only thing in my humble opinion they should be populating. Engaging them is the equivalent of stopping under a bridge and arguing with the mentally deranged, drug-addled people living there. Plus you could get COVID; from the people, not the internet.

All this weirdness is enough to drive one crazy, or at least to drink, you know for medicinal purposes so as to not Go-Mental where you might end up under the aforementioned bridge. Or gasp, Social Media posting an I’m ok, you’re ok meme.

Fortunately, to see me through all this madness I stocked up on my favorite Greek Coffee and good scotch. In a cruel twist of fate, I’ve recently run out of fine cigars but could get medical marijuana if I so desired. Thing is though, everyone knows Mary-Jane is for the unimaginative. Hemingway was often drunk when he wrote. Mostly not when he edited. And never stoned; at least on weed anyway…

See a trend here, gentle reader? Books, reading or writing them, or both along with Coffee, Scotch, and cigars make the world, or at least your little part, better. They are the staples of a healthy lifestyle or at least they are for my kind of writers, ski instructors, and cops everywhere pre, current, and post-pandemic. More than that each allows for introspection, mindfulness, and the cigars are especially good pest repellents, particularly for the type of people who complain about people smoking them…

Ah, our First-World problems. I’ve heard that Monte’s Cigar shop is doing deliveries now, think I’ll go call them…






1 Response »


  1. WRITING IN THE ERA OF COVID – High Desert Writer

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