Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Last Train To The Coast

Now you know that I have set a side my worn out Strohlz jet foamed ski boots. They were a Christmas gift from my High School sweet heart. It has been forty years since I decided to take a year off from the pursuit of an Engineering Degree to spend a winter skiing in America. During those years I have watched the sunset and the snows come to almost every major mountain range in North America and worked at every possible job that would advance that goal. I have lived in converted railroad box cars that were made into sleeping bunks on the desolate plains of Wyoming, to multi-million dollar log homes on Missouri Flats in Aspen Colorado for the sake of the next steeper run filled with that precious white gold, powder snow.

This year as the snows and Winter Olympics come to Sochi, Russia, a place where I would have never ever dreamed of skiing nor imagined ever being able to visit, I am beginning what I hope will be the culmination of my life long dream of pursuing mountain tops. The dream is to write about them. I have recently completed a course on self-publishing e-books. After many false starts of writing and compiling a collection of short stories that are worthy of publishing, the day has arrived. The stories have been edited and assembled in a collection titled “The Lure Of The Mountain King And Other Stories.” It is my goal and dream to move forward and be able to finally tackle the greatest challenge of my life. I hope to move from being a writer as a hobby to being a writer making a living at it. Just like the obsession of pursuing the Mountain King, I am possessed by the desire to write about my time on the Mountain King, Arapahoe Basin. There have been many false starts and outright failures on my part to move toward this accomplishment. I can only equate those to the times that I spent skiing first green circle trails (easiest), then blue box trails (more difficult), then black diamond trails (most difficult), to finally climbing out of bounds all day to ski trails where there aren’t even any names or boundaries.

In their infinite wisdom grandmothers all seem to understate the obvious not only did my grandmother tell me "(Albert), word’s ... they are the key." She always said you have to crawl before you can walk. How very fitting for someone who grew up being a part of the instant gratification society, having recently lived through a “Great Recession” that turned the equity in my home, (that I was planning on using the proceeds for moving to the ocean in Oregon and walking on the beach while writing my short stories and novels), to being a commander of a submarine, (my beautiful Stonewood Grande), in Parachute, Colorado.

The greatest lesson that I have ever learned has been at the knees of my grandparents who lived through the real great depression. The lesson is to dream and if you are going to dream, why not make them big dreams. When song writers dream and write about salvation, they always seem to write about their salvation as a train. You know the great gospel songs about trains. One in particular titled “People get Ready.”  The lyrics are “People get ready there's a train a - coming, you don’t need no ticket, you just get on board. All you need is faith to hear the diesel’s humming. Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the lord.” Hell, even Dylan titled an album “Slow Train Coming.”  I guess that is why I titled this piece, The Last Train To The Coast. It is my last big dream to be at the ocean and writing about my life in and on the mountains.

I have started what I hope will be the very last vehicle and business to get me there. Capitol Plumbing and Heating, named after the second highest peak in Colorado. Here is to big mountains, big dreams, and walking hand in hand with my beautiful wife on a big beach next to the big ocean.