Sunday, July 30, 2023

167- Self Realization Fellowship World Convocation 2023



Purusha is covered by five kashas or sheaths.

Actions of Love. The action of Repulsion, the manifestation of the Omnipotent Energy, being thus completed, the action of Attraction (the Omnipotent Love in the core of the heart) begins to be manifested. Under the influence of this Omniscient Love, the Attraction, the Atoms, being attracted toward one another, come nearer and nearer, taking ethereal, gaseous, fiery, liquid, and solid forms.

The Holy Science.” Swami Sri Yukteswar- Self Realization Fellowship


When certain beings are together, such as the World Convocation in Los Angeles, the Attraction is great and manifests itself as Divine Love. The ethereal essence of Love, Peace, and Harmony is manifested and then released into the Hearts of the World. This Love is the necessary energy to overcome Maya and repulse the negativity that is pervasive in the world today. During the coming sessions of the Convocation I look forward to the topics to be discussed and enlightenment being offered by Swami Chidananda Giri and the Self Realization Fellowship. Your words and work are a Divine Light in a confused and lost world.

Self Realization Fellowship- World Convocation 2023

The Healers of Write My Fire

Mere Gurudev

Thursday, July 27, 2023

166; Uncle Albert's Mountain,(The Lure of the Mountain King) Chapter XXXIII; Until It's Over....

      Sara was sitting at the end of the bar,  playing with a long strand of her auburn hair. Her mind was on Tom, she had only a handful of customers, this afternoon. The regulars had been stopping in since noon. Business would be slow until summer season started, and 

would not get busy, until the Autumn winds brought another winter of snow to the Rocky Mountains.

     The front door slowly opened, and a black Stetson appeared. Sara felt her pulse quicken, and the hair on her arms tingle. She quickly stood up and started to wash dishes, glancing blankly at the soapy water. Lifting her hands, she turned them over, the water ripples wrinkled the skin on her fingers.. She realized exactly what she was doing, hiding from Tom, hiding from herself, and the world. Year after year, she stood washing dirty glasses, and listening to others talk about their adventures. She stood at the bar, mixing their drinks and collecting their spare change, to make ends meet.

     “If nothing else, he taught you the value of freedom,” she whispered, “ and the courage to spend it.” She pulled the plug on the bar sink and walked to the end to face him.

     “Hi,” he said cautiously.

     “Hi,” she smiled, her eyes sparkling as they met his. She grasped his hand and held tightly to his forefingers.

     “I’m sorry that all this happened. I was wrong to try and force you into something you weren’t ready for.”

Tom looked deeply into her eyes.

    “No, I’m sorry, I’m sorry I can’t settle in one place. I’m sorry I have to follow the snow. I long for the mountains, but I want to be with you so much it hurts, when I’m not.” He saw the same spark that was there when they first met. He had never thought it would return.

     “Listen, I can’t explain my feelings when I’m near you. I’m trying desperately to tell you how much I love you, it's, I’ve got this crazy dream. Maybe I can…”

Sara put her fingers to his lips. “I’ll make a deal with you. No more talk of love and marriage and you give me a real taste of freedom.”

He loosened the straps of his backpack and slid out of it. He slipped his arm lightly around her waist.

     “There’s this little restaurant in Alta, Wyoming, that I know is for sale, called Wild Bills at Grand Targhee Resort. Targhee’s claim to fame is the first and last with the snow.

     “Sounds good to me,” Sara gently put her arms around his neck. Tom pulled her close to him. He felt the warmth of her body next to his. Sara was the sweet serenity he found among the jagged peaks. He adored everything about her. She was his obsession, more than the mountains ever could be.

     The balance between man and nature in the mountains is a fragile and delicate one. Life hangs by a taught golden string, stretched almost to the breaking point. Tom would always push towards the edge. Perhaps someday he would push too far. He would regret many things in his life, he would never regret having given his love to Sara.

     “No promises.”

     “No promises,” he agreed.

Going To California- Led Zeppelin

Gordon Grey

Albert Bianchine

Next Up: Finish The Screenplay

                (Uncle Albert's Mountain)

But, behind the scenes, things were changing. The planned Eisenhower Tunnel was going to divert traffic away from A-Basin. In 1971, the Forest Service sent A-Basin a scathing letter outlining everything that needed to be fixed or upgraded. And, after 25 years, Larry and Marnie Jump were ready to move on. When strong winds knocked over a Norway Lift tower in 1972, the Jumps decided they were done. They sold A-Basin to Joe Jankovsky for $850,000.

Joe had previously managed A-Basin operations from 1962 to 1970. Though he owned the ski area for only six years, many remember his era as their favorite time at A-Basin. Joe focused on making critical infrastructure upgrades, repairing A-Basin’s tarnished image, and cultivating the laid-back vibe that is still prized and maintained today.

“Skiing at the Basin in the 70’s was a trip. Warren Miller movies, Pepi Steigler and Billy Kidd race camps, Jefferson Starship crew skiing the Basin, gelande jumping on Pale Face … big air off the cornice—it was all about the skiing. There were skiers up at the Basin who were some of the most incredible skiers you will ever see, doing some of the wildest things you could ever imagine. Like patrolmen having jumping contests off King Cornice with rigs …

Life was just one giant adventure that you got to share and toast to with all of your best friends. And then there were days when you just gave it up and ‘skied Mahogany Ridge’—that would be hanging in the pub.” – Cathy Chaplin, former A-Basin employee

The introduction of the Ski Safety Act of 1979 brought stricter oversight to ski lift construction, maintenance, and operation. It was obvious that major upgrades were needed at A-Basin. Rather than figure out how to raise $5 million to accomplish the task, Joe chose to sell the ski area.


The Sale of Arapahoe Basin: "We called ourselves the stepchild."

Ralston Purina, owner of Keystone Mountain at the time, purchased A-Basin in 1978 for $3 million (about $13 million in 2022 dollars). The reason was clear: A-Basin’s expert terrain was intended to supplement Keystone’s beginner and intermediate offerings (Keystone is 5 miles West of A-Basin). A-Basin was treated and managed as an extension of Keystone, from sharing administrative departments to sharing lift tickets.

My Support Staff Pete, She Takes Care Of Everything

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

165;Uncle Albert's Mountain, (The Lure of the Mountain King) Chapter XXXII; It's Never Over....

 I do this for myself because I am my own fatherland and my handkerchief is my flag.                                                                                                                      Reinhold Messner

     The ski year was winding to a close. The last of the winter storms had long ago fallen, and the snow base was beginning to grow sparse and thin. Spring is a special time in the Rocky Mountains. Everyone looks forward to stripping off their heavy Parkas’ in exchange for shorts and tee shirts, the shapes of women finally appearing as women, underneath the bulky clothing.

     Arapahoe Basin was the last in Colorado to close for the season. Her high altitude assured her of a deep base. The basin held the powder, and packed powder until well into the mud season. She could be skied, long after other areas, except maybe her sister, Loveland Basin, were closed. The summit towered into the thin crispness of the deep blues sky. The ivory snow melting, trickling through the cracks and crevasses, turned into raging streams everywhere, rushing down her steep craggy, creviced sides.

     The chairs hung empty desolate and silent swaying in the early morning breeze. The Beaver’s munched on the blossoming bulbs and spring mushrooms, while the Ermine and Ptarmigan turned their spring blending brown, frolicked and foraged on the hatching insects among the buttercups and daisies. It was the only sign that life existed, anywhere else in the world, outside of the teeming undergrowth.

     Tom and Joe were standing in the parking lot in front of the Lodge gazing fondly at the high peaks. The billowy cumulus clouds softly sliding by, where slit by the earthen spires. Every person’s thoughts are inherently their own, but at certain times the world comes together to be as one. Humanity bridges the gaps; it is why society goes to the mountains. Here all are humble equals.

     “So this is it,” Joe stretched out his arms. He rested his hand on the young man’s shoulder. He was hoping it wasn’t the last time they would be together.

     “Every season it’s the same. The end comes much, much too soon. You just begin to know someone, and then they're gone,” Tom lamented.

     Tom grabbed his Tough Traveler backpack and swung it up onto his broad shoulders. Joe reached across to shake his hand, he pulled his friend tight to him, and gave him a strong fatherly hug.

     “Thank you for everything son, “ his voice cracked, as he whispered.

     “Aw, come on Joe,” Tom said. “This isn’t the end, it’s a new beginning, and new beginnings are great.”

     Joe stepped backwards and nodded a smile, not trusting himself, to speak. He didn’t hide or express emotions well. He opened the car door, and motioned for a last chance ride. Tom shook his head and cinched the black straps of his pack tighter. They hung long and loose, and gently flapped in the mountain breeze.

     “When I was a small boy, Snowshoe would haul me up on his knee and whisper in my ear. Reach, Tom, reach as high as you can for your dreams. There’s no failure for reaching for an obscure dream and commin up short. You see my boy, the greatest failure in this life is never reaching for the dream at all,” Tom reflected.  “You weren’t afraid to go for it, Joe. Maybe, just maybe, someday I’ll come to your ranch, wherever it may be. I don’t think I will ever be able to forget you and this damn mountain. I’ll think of you when the times are tough and it seems like the whole world has gone crazy. If it ever feels like there is no hope, I’ll remember your fight with the Senator, even though it isn’t over, and I’ll try a little harder, reach higher.”

     The two were silent, dwarfed between being and nothingness, the quiet silence, the learned silence, the silence of mountains and men. Joe slid into the Mercedes and started the engine. He drove out of the parking lot and down the highway, toward Keystone and the Dillon Reservoir. He didn’t look back at Tom.

     “That young man is a carbon copy of his Uncle Snowshoe. He’ll live to be a Legend in his Time.”

     Tom stood alone. He was a lone wolf again. A solitary sentinel stationed at the summit of North America. The sun’s rays bathed his body with warmth. The brilliant intense light reflected off of the wet white swaths of snow among the lush green meadows. It awakened all of his nerve endings, flooding, filling his body with and eerie consciousness.

     A loud snap followed suddenly by a crack and empty clanging, startled him. Tom spun to face the Lodge and quickly looked at where the sound had come from. The golden eagle grotesquely glared at him, a mute gargoyle atop a naked pole. Tom turned away. He was chilled by the empty resonance of the banging. The metal clasps hung from the cable, kissing the cold steel pole and was chilled by the hollow barren sound. Involuntarily, he shivered, against the loneliness. Tom peered along the line of blue lift towers, dotting the mountainside, like a caterpillar, crawling up to the summit. His gaze drifted across Lenawee Mountain and the magnificent East Wall that he had traversed in the fog and snow to get his first shots in with the Patrol. He squinted against the brightness. Trying to visualize the wooden miner's top shack perched precariously, guarding Montezuma Bowl on the backside. He held fast to the image until it burned brightly in his heart and mind and would hold Arapahoe Basin in his soul forever, her empty trails, and slopes, the waiting arms of an expectant lover.

     Man passes across the face of the Earth, leaving scars of desecration. Nature gives it all away. After man’s reign is through, her divine steeples will stand silently, breathlessly catching passing cumulus clouds. There will be no pain, there will be no sorrow, there will be no glory, no answers. There will only be God’s Universe in its splendor. Tom had come around full circle, almost.

     “Begin at the beginning, end at the end, it’s never over until it’s over.” Snowshoe was a wise old man his wisdom lived on, in Tom. There was one more loose end that had to be tied.

     Tom kicked at a rock with his hiking boots. It skipped across the puddles. He splashed through the wet slush and mud of the parking lot. Life long ties had been meld as solid as the earthen rock, itself. He would always make a pilgrimage home, vowing in his heart, to bring a new friend, each time he returned to the Lady in Waiting.

     He started down Route-Six for his long walk into town, said good-bye to the Professor, guarding the switch- backs up to the Continental Divide. The Aspens, green with buds. The white and purple blooming Columbine, offset the vibrant hues of the Indian Paintbrush. The forest of Montezuma, alive with its burgeoning life. Tom looked to the summit for one last time. High above the giant bowl, a Golden Eagle cried shrilly, as it raced across the azure sky. Tom’s step lightened, his chest filled with serenity. The aroma of the sage and the pines permeated the thin air. The runoff cascading down the mountainside into the peaceful gentle Valley of the Blue.

The Weight / Featuring Ringo Star and Robbie Robertson/ Playing For Change/ Song Around The World

Monday, July 24, 2023

164;Uncle Albert's Mountain, (The Lure of the Mountain King) Chapter XXXI; The Senator Is Foiled


     “They’re in Meeting Room Three, but you can’t go in,” the secretary looked up at the young man. He ignored the last part of the warning, and ran down the hall.

     “Joe! Joe!, “Tom called hoping it wasn’t too late. There were no numbers on the doors, so he had to get their attention the hard way.

     “Joe! Dillon here!”

     “What’s going on?” The door to his left swung open and Joe’s lawyer stepped into the hallway and shut the door behind him.

     “We’re in the middle of an important meeting. You can’t barge in like this,” he looked at Tom. “Miss Buxly! Miss Buxly! Would you show this man the door?” He grabbed Tom by the arm to lead him out. Tom pulled away from his grasp, pushed him aside, reached for the door handle and entered the room.

     “Excuse me Gentleman. Can I see you in private, Mr. Jacobason. It’ll only be a moment.”

     “Pardon me,” Joe rose up from his seat. “ My accountant’s here.”

     They went out into the hall, and over to an empty room. Tom closed the door behind them and shuffled Joe into a chair. He slid the papers out of the envelope, and spread them across the table. Taking a pen out of his pocket, he slapped it down on top and stood back.

     “Sign on the dotted line,” he said with a broad grin.

     “What’s this?”

     Tom sat down in a big leather chair at the head of the table. He leaned back, crossed his fingers in front of him, and smiled a large radiant smile. “It’s a season’s pass,”

     “How on God’s green earth did you manage this,”Joe was occupied scrutinizing the policy.

     “You can thank the King of Insurance, David Randall.” Tom stood and walked around beside Joe. He bent over and pointed to the date on the policy.

     “Effective yesterday!” he let out a hearty guffaw, unable to control his elation.

     “Unbelievable!” Joe shook his head from side to side.

     “It was really very easy,” Tom strutted around the room. “I gave D.R. a call the day you told me about the cancellation. He knew what was going on. How the Senator had the Insurance Company in his pocket. The problems were not your fault and he would underwrite a new policy. He told me what he needed and I got him the information. I didn’t say anything because he wasn’t sure his company would go along with it, on such short notice….”

     “I’ll be damned,” Joe clicked the pen, and put his signature on his new lease on life.

     “We almost didn’t make it, but Mr.Randall came through.”

     Joe stood up and collected the documents. “Shall we give them the good news?” He motioned to the door.

     To say there was a celebration was an understatement. Everyone they could possibly get a hold of was at the Jaw. The party lasted well into the night. No one wanted the revelry to end. The joy this family felt was shared by all, it was just a battle. It was enough to end this season and hopefully keep them going for another year, and it was all that mattered to them.

Sierra-Boz Scaggs

163; Uncle Albert's Mountain,(The Lure); Chapter XXX; Providence Shows Its Hand

      The weeks flew by as weeks often do. The way that time always seems to move toward an unwelcome event. No matter how hard you try to savor the remaining days. It’s a fact of human nature that cannot be reversed. If you want something, on the other hand, it never seems to arrive.

     Tom had been waiting everyday for the mail to arrive. Joe’s last chance was riding on the efficiency of the United States Postal Service.

     “Neither rain nor sleet, nor snow can keep them from their appointed rounds. It was one scary thought,” he reflected.

     It was twelve noon and there didn’t seem to be anyone at the mountain. Yesterday was the final day of the season for the Basin. A wooden sign with a red lettering was stuck in the mud of the parking lot, a prelude to the Mud Season to come, it read CLOSED.

     Joe was on his way into town. The papers were to be signed at two P.M. that day to transfer ownership as quickly as possible, or risk going into default. Keystone’s Parent Company was quite agreeable to sign at a moment's notice. They had been poised to strike for a long time. Now that the Mountain Crown was about to be put on their heads, they were more than happy to accommodate Joe’s wishes.

     Tom sat down on the steps and crossed his arms over his knees. He looked at his watch and it was twelve-fifteen.

     “Come on Jake,” he said, tapping his hiking boots impatiently.

     Right on cue the mail truck came into view. Jake sped up the highway and pulled into the empty lot. He came to a halt in front of the stairs. Sliding out, he pulled a large bundle of letters from his sack.

      “Nothing but bills today, I’m afraid.”

     Tom slumped like the wind had been knocked from him. Jake knew that he had been waiting for an important letter from back East.

     “Damn I thought he would come through.” Tom shuffled through the pile. He was hoping he had missed something. Jake climbed back into the truck and drove away. Tom tossed the envelopes carelessly on to the steps. Defeated, he sat down. He desperately wanted to save the day for Joe, to rush in triumphantly just as they were about to sign the papers and declare victory. It was the image he had focused on in his mind. If you can see something happen and believe in it strongly, it will come true. It was the way Tom lived his life. He believed in everything he did.

     A white station wagon pulled off the road and into the lot, it stopped by the sign. He took no notice of it and stood up to stretch his legs. The car started forward and stopped next to him. He walked down the stairs to see what the driver wanted.

     “I’m looking for Tom Dillon,” the man stuck his head out the window.

     “You found him.”

The man reached over the seat and grabbed a large manila envelope. He handed it to Tom.

     “Sign here,” he said.

     Tom signed the paper on the clipboard and took the envelope.

     “This is it! This is it!,” he danced up and down. “Thanks, Thanks,” he pumped the man’s hand.

     “Anytime,” he smiled, shaking his head as he drove away.

     Tom’s hands trembled with excitement as he ripped open the folder. He had to be sure it was the right thing. There it was in black and white, the most beautiful document he had ever seen.

     He ran to the road and stuck out his thumb.

     “It looks like the Calvary is coming to the rescue, after all.”

Hanuman Prayer, Krishna Das

Sunday, July 23, 2023

162; Uncle Albert's Mountain,(The Lure;) Chapter XXIX; April- Joe Receives Bad News

     The end of April was a deadline for Joe, there was still an abundance of snow in the Rocky Mountains, but it signaled a decline. If he could have just lasted to May, he would have been able to keep the Basin another year.

     Joe’s luck had just run out, in the mail today, he found the final blow. The letter read: In regards to excessive claims, increased liability, and questionable practices, we no longer consider you an acceptable risk and are formally notifying you of the cancellation of this insurance policy

     The United States Forest Service would not allow him to operate without insurance. He had one week to cease operations.

     “They finally won,” he said to himself. If he couldn’t sell tickets, he couldn’t pay his mortgage. If he can't pay his mortgage, he loses it all. Either way, they win. Joe closed his eyes, hoping that when he opened them, this nightmare would be over. It was over, but it wasn’t a dream, his fears had come true. All hope was lost. His life dreams would be gone with the melting spring snows.

     He rose from his desk, and walked out of the office, and stood at the base of the mountain. She was the only solace he had left in his life, at least for another week. He would spend the week, amidst her magnificent glory, like he did when he had first come to her. When times were simple, and the future looked cheerful and bright.

     He walked along the front of the Lodge and toward the lift. It was a beautiful day outside. The sun was warm and radiating through the clear blue sky. The silence disturbed only by the hum of the engines of the lifts, carrying the happy skiers up through the carved trails.

     “Hey Joe! What’s up?” Tom yelled. He had his skis over his shoulder, his boots squeaking on the snow as he made his way across the lot.

     “How’s Toby doing today,” his face was upturned toward the Summit.

     “A lot better. He told me, it wasn’t your fault. You shouldn’t feel bad.”

     “How can I not feel bad? If I wasn’t so foolish to think I could beat the Senator, at his expansion game, none of this would have happened,”

     “It’s not foolish to fight for something you believe. It’s cowardice to not. I never took you for a coward, Joe. Tom could feel a different air about Joe. He was speaking slower and softer than he had ever spoken before. Tom could sense, something was up. Joe was hiding something.

     “What happened?”

     “ Happened! They cancelled my insurance,” He raised his finger. “One week”

     The two men stared directly at one another. They were looking for a sign, the least little ray of hope. Joe was the first to break eye contact. The mountain was all he had, all he had ever wanted. How could he just leave? He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

     “Let’s ski,” he finally said.

     “You go ahead, Joe. I’ve got a couple of things, I just remembered, I have to take care of.” Tom turned and started back to the Lodge.

     “I’ll see you later,” he yelled over his shoulder.

     Joe slowly picked up his skis and made his way toward the lift. He placed the skis gently on the ground. Lifting one leg at a time, he scraped the packed snow from the bottom of his boots and stepped firmly into the bindings.

     “Hi, Boss,” Sally, the lift operator said, as he skied up to the chair. It was as if he was the only one there. He didn’t hear her. Joe just gazed up the hill, his face void of all expression.

     “I wonder what’s wrong with him,” she thought, “It looks like he lost his best friend.”

White Bird' It's A Beautiful Day

Friday, July 21, 2023

161;Uncle Albert's Mountain,( The Lure;) Chapter XXVIII; Jilly and the Moose Jaw

   Sara was never late for work, but this time was an exception, she had been down to see Toby. She had heard about the explosion on the local news, and she was already on her way to the Jaw but had to find out if he was going to be alright. By the time she made it back, she was an hour late. Jilly was sitting at the bar.

     “Did you hear what happened to Toby?”

 She slid her empty glass forward to be filled.

     “I certainly hope he is going to live.

Sara froze in her tracks, not believing her ears. Jilly had never paid any attention to Toby, whatsoever. Now she was talking like they were best of friends.

     “I just came from the hospital. He’s going to be alright.”

     “If you had bothered to go or at least called, you would know.” Sara thought seriously of knocking her from the stool. She just couldn’t bring herself to do it.

 She had been tense and on the edge, since she split with Tom and didn’t like her job any more to begin with. Jilly’s self serving attitude just made matters worse.

     “You should have gone down to see him,” she compromised.

     “I know,’Jilly said playing with her hair,” but I have just had so much on my mind lately.”

     “Toby’s laying in the hospital, for Christsake, and you’re sitting here drinking, with a lot on your little mind.”

     “Sara Stop it! You’re going to ruin my good news. Congratulate me!” Jilly smiled broadly.

 Sara stood silently for a moment, hoping she wasn’t going to say, what she thought, she was going to say.

     “I’m engaged!” Jilly held out her hand, adorned with a large diamond. “Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous,” she watched it sparkle as she turned it from side to side.

 Sara was trying desperately to hold back her tears. All she could do, was think about Tom, and the life they would never know.

     “I’m happy for you,” she said, half-heartedly. She looked down and busied herself by washing a few glasses. She hoped she wouldn’t see the tears in her eyes.

     “And that’s not all,” Jilly continued excitedly,” The best is yet to come.”

She turned off the water faucet and wiped her hands completely dry. She walked back over and leaned impatiently on the bar, looking directly at Jilly, tapping her fingers on the bar. She didn’t say a word.

     “Guess who’s running the Basin, from now on,” she raised her head and smiled proudly.

Sara didn’t move. She didn’t twitch a muscle, frozen in indecision. What if anything was she going to do?”

    “I can either totally ignore her,” she said to herself, “or I can kill her.”

A moment passed. Sara took a long deep breath, and lunged over the top of the bar, knocking Jilly off her stool. She reached down and grabbed her by the hair and her shirt. She yanked her to her feet, dragged her to the door, and threw her out.

     Everyone at the bar applauded as the door slammed behind her. Each and everyone had all wanted to do the very same thing, at least a hundred times before. It was good to finally see her get what she deserved. Sara was not in the mood to be patted on the back. She ran from the room crying, wanting to be left alone. She had never exploded like that before, and didn’t know what was going on. Her life was in shambles, chaos, and nothing made any sense anymore. She was finding out what it was like to pretend you're content with your life, when you just can’t pretend anymore.

Driving-Everything But The Girl

Aristotle Say's : Stay At Task ,Only Five More Chapters,.

Remember: The Lure of the Mountain King, and Appaloosa Lake are Labors of Love, Rome Was Not Built In One Day! 

Reality Say's: Don't Be Fooled, The Real Work Is Just About To Begin. It is the Culmination of a lifetime in the mountains. Finishing the Screenplay, Appaloosa Lake, Waltzing with Rahda, Rewriting and Chapter Extension. It is like, standing at the top of an Incredibly Steep Ski Slope, your knees are knocking, your heart is pounding, your hands are shaking, but you will never get down, if you don't jump into the chute.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

160; Uncle Albert's Mountain,(The Lure;) Chapter XXVII; Toby is Alive

       Tom winced in pain from the antiseptic smell of the Summit County Hospital. They had been waiting for an hour, an hour too long. He hated hospitals. They were absolutely necessary, but he stayed away from them as much as possible. Ever since he had been a young man, his first memories were of their lonely corridors. He despised that antiseptic smell, the terribly clean sterile smell. He had spent a week in the Albany Medical Center, being treated for Rheumatic Fever, and he never forgot those long poking and probing days and endless dreary, scary nights. All he wanted to do was go home, they wouldn’t let him so he wept. He was weeping now, but this time for his best friend, laying with tubes and casts protruding from his mangled body.

     Toby was lying with his eyes closed in the far bed by the window. There were ten beds in the room. Three others were filled with the main disease of ski towns: BROKEN BONES. Tom and Joe walked quietly up to the bed. Tobey opened his eyes and weakly smiled.

     “Hi guys,” he whispered.

     “Hey Tobe,” Tom sat on the edge of the bed, and took his hand. “I know this is a dumb question, but how do you feel?”

Joe walked around and sat on the other side, watching the two men talk.

     “I’m lucky they tell me, tho, I don’t feel that lucky right now.”

     “We’re all just happy you’re alive,” Tom tightened his grip on Toby’s hand. He looked down at his helpless friend, wishing there was something he could do to ease the pain.

     “What happened anyway?”

     “Lance, he blew number three, to get back at me for selling out. They're taking him to Denver, for Psych evaluation, and then probably jail. I should have seen it all coming. I saw the signs, the short answers, the quick temper. He had that look in his eyes. The same distant look you get when you’re gazing across a ridge after a battle wondering where the future lies. I’m just sorry you were hurt, you get some sleep now son. We’ll be back tomorrow.”

     “I’m gonna go for a walk, Joe. You go on.”

     “Are you sure/”


     “He’ll be O.K.”

     “I know, I’ll see you back at the Basin.”

     Tom started walking as Joe pulled out of the parking lot, His eyes were teary and blurred as he tried to focus on the pavement, he kicked maliciously at the chunks of snow lining the pavement. One hell of a way to wind up a season, he thought. He stuffed his hands into his denim pockets, as he made his way through the familiar town of Dillon. Something inside of him was dead, it had died with the news of the sale of his dream mountain, and he didn’t know if he would ever really feel alive again. He took no notice of, what he thought of as, a ghost town, around him.

     He began to run. A slow jog at first, and then faster and faster until perspiration started to soaked his skin. His legs began to ache as he passed the Moose Jaw, the Corinthian Hills, Keystone Village and headed up, the pass, toward the Basin. When the grade began to rise, he felt like death was only ten steps away. He kept running, and running until the grade steepened sharply. He fell into a snowbank on the side of the road, gripping his stomach, as he laid back and closed his eyes. A few minutes had passed, and the worst was over. He opened his eyes and stared up at the cloud- covered sky. An angry front was steadily making its way up the valley and looked like it would strangle the mountain. It was blocking the sun from the highest peaks. His breathing slowed down and returned to normal, he took one last deep breath. The tears came, he let them gladly flow, to cleanse his system of the pain and disappointment he had held for so long.

Over The Hills And Far Away, Led Zeppelin

I always wished for time to write when I was working on the ranch. 

Be Careful What You Wish For!

I am being advised not to leave my house, no excuses not to write.

 Thank You Lord for keeping me safe from the rain and hurricanes, and teaching me what hell would be like, if I wasn't a good man.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

159; Uncle Albert's Mountain,(The Lure;) Chapter XXVI; March-Tom's Return


     It had been several weeks since Tom had left the Basin. Toby was on the mountain skiing the headwall. It was a black diamond trail with a steep pitch that left absolutely no room for any error. He was feeling a winning attitude in his heart for his sport. The thrill of the speed, the rush of the wind, the glimmer and sparkle of the ivory crystals in his eyes, he was warmed by the intensity of the sun at twelve thousand feet in elevation. He felt at one with himself and the world around him. It was this inner piece that kept him coming back to the mountain year after year. Not knowing why, he simply felt good, it was great to let go and float through the endless ecstasy of powder.

     Rushing down the steep grade of the cornice above the headwall, he knew Coach and Tom were right. There was something magical, primal about the mountain, it was a humbling mentor and lover. The serenity and silence disturbed only by the deafening roar of unstable powder in the backcountry. He hit the bottom of the transition, compressed and shot up the steep slope that would drop him over into the front-side. Skirting the evergreens alongside the trails he could catch Grizzly Road to International and the Lodge.

     Heading down International out of the corner of his eye, he caught a flash of  sunlight down in the parking lot. He was several hundred yards above it and could see people milling about. From the direction of the flash, he noticed the unmistakeable and familiar black cowboy hat bobbing up and down from the far left of the parking lot toward the lodge. It was Tom's silver dollar centerpiece.

     Toby started through the pines that dotted the lower slope. Gathering momentum he would shoot through the trees and come up on the lower end of the lot. The trail would lead Toby to the lower moguls and the number three lift station. Approaching the station, he looked up to see Lance, far off to the right, standing waving his arms in the air. He was motioning Toby to go back. Toby stopped abruptly, next to the number three station.

     “Go Back! Go Back!” was the last thing Toby heard before the explosion and the enveloping blackness.

     Lance was the first to reach him, followed by Tom and a few seconds later, Joe.

     “Don’t be dead! Don’t be dead! Please! Please! Please! Don’t be Dead,” he sat cradling Toby’s blood stained head and torso. Toby’s legs were sticking out from his body at odd angles. A bone protruded from the calf of his right leg. His left arm was pinned grotesquely behind his upper torso. Lance rested his head against Toby’s, his body convulsed with sobs. Toby’s skis were scattered twenty feet away along with debris from the building that once was the number three lift station. Smoke was rising as pieces of burning wood melted the snow where it had fallen.

     “Get Away!” Joe commanded, throwing Lance to the side. He had come running to join Tom at the sound of the explosion.

     “He’s barely breathing. Call an ambulance! Joe straddled Toby and began performing CPR. “Toby, Hold On! Come On Son! Just Hold On! Joe looked at Toby, and then back at Lance.

     “What the hell is going on here Lance?”

Tom dropped his pack and lunged at Lance grabbing him by his jacket.

     “You did this? Didn’t Ya! Didn’t Ya Lance?” He screamed at him, hitting him, over and over. Lance staggered backwards and made no attempt to defend him-self.

Several onlookers grabbed Tom and pulled him away. Lance stood there just staring at Toby. Tom broke free from his restraint and confronted Lance again.

     “You did this! You did this! How could you?”

     “No!” Lance held his jaw.

     “What?” Tom cried.

     “Joe did this! He sold out to the Senator” Lance was backing up, pointing and shaking his finger, hysterically at Joe. “It’s all your fault you sold out to the multi-nationals, you sold out the country!” Lance was raving, and crying wildly as the ambulance pulled into the parking lot.

     “Jesus! What happened here?” The attendant asked the crowd.

     No one answered as the medics took over CPR and Toby’s vitals. The mountain silence was deafening as they worked to get him on the backboard and load him on the stretcher and start for the Unimog.

     “Is he going to be alright? Will he live? Tom questioned.

Joe and Tom both watched as the medics worked on Toby frantically. Tom looked into Joe’s eyes as the door was closing and they could see the medic shake his head back and forth.

   The crowd stood back to allow the Summit County Sheriff’s Patrol access to the scene.

     “It’s Lance, Burt, over there, it was him” Joe pointed.

Lance stood looking at the ground as Burt walked over and pulled his arms behind him and began reading him his rights.

     Tom stood motionless, and in deep shock. “This is insanity. What is the mountain and the Senator doing to all of us? They have us at each other’s throats. Violence is never the answer. It’s killing us. It doesn’t have to be this way. It doesn’t have to happen. If I hadn’t left, none of this would have happened. What have I done?”

     Joe reached over and put his arm around Tom. Everything they both believed in was driving away in the ambulance. Life, their lives as they knew them, would never be the same, when the Basin, like Toby was gone. They would have many loves in their lives and many losses, none would ever rival the great love and immeasurable loss they would know for this Majestic Basin.

From The Beginning; Greg Lake

Sunday, July 16, 2023

158;Uncle Albert's Mountain,( The Lure;) Chapter XXV; Tom's Reckoning



      Tom stepped off the Greyhound out of Summit County and into Vail. He buttoned his black preacher coat against the stark evening cold. The thirteen thousand foot Gore Range and the spires of the Grand Traverse glowed fiery orange in the last light of the alpenglow. The turquoise tinged sky faded into darkness. Tugging at his Stetson and slipping into his backpack, he walked across the Vail Transportation Center and down the concrete stairs. The snow crisp, cold, crunched beneath his worn hiking boots. A thick blanket of it nestled on the roof of the Covered Bridge. It was the oldest structure in Vail Village. The crystals sparkled against the wooden shakes, illuminated by the lights of the Alpine Village. The noise of the tourists talking was replaced by the dull thud of his boots on the wooden planks. The rushing and bubbling of Gore Creek filled the evening air. Halfway across the bridge, Tom stopped and turned toward the rushing water. The flowing water tugged strongly at his heart. Silently, he stood and listened. He thought of his friend. He had always expected his greatest defeat would have come from the mountains. It had surprised him, coming this way. Sara had taken him to heights he had thought were impossible. He was just beginning to realize how great his loss really was.

      He was finely tired. He was tired of the poverty, the loneliness, tired of the towns, ski towns, fed up with the hustlers. He was tired of ski town dreamers and ski town schemers. Tired of the Senator, his Corporation, and the Senator’s obsession to own all of Summit County, right up to the Continental Divide.

     The sound of footfalls across the planks of the Covered Bridge captured his attention. A young couple arm and arm walked toward him. Her hair hung loosely from beneath her white ski hat.  It was flaming red, reminding him of Sara. Why? Why did he put on an act to impress her? Fool her by being something other than who he was. Why had he been compelled to drive this warm wonderful woman from his life?

     He walked down the narrow noisy Bridge Street and toward the middle of the Village. In the lit window of a local shop, he stopped to look at a pair of expensive hand-tooled riding boots that sat among the cut woolen sweaters. Sara’s voice drifted through the evening air.

      “You may know everything there is to know about mountains, Thomas Dillon. When it comes to women, you’re such a big jerk! Every time the least little thing happens in your life, you run away to another mountain. When are you going to realize that you are just running away from yourself? You’ve got to quit drinking, you’ve got to stand for something in life, and you can’t just drift!”

     Tom flipped up his collar to the cold and dampness and continued on toward Gold Peak and his friend’s townhome. Tom was good at walking away, a walk away Joe. He stood quietly in front of the door. It was beginning to snow and it was late. He had nowhere else to go and no one else to see. He reached up and grasped the large brass ring around the lion’s head that rested against the plate, bringing it down hard three times, he listened. The sound of footsteps came to him from behind the door. It opened slightly.           

     “Who is it?” a soft feminine voice asked. 

     “Dawna, it’s me, Tom.”

     “Tom, Tom, come in!”

     The door opened widely and a slim graceful woman appeared. She had long blonde hair that spiraled into ringlets to her shoulders. She grasped him firmly by the hand and led him through the doorway.

     “How have you been? Where have you been? What exactly have you been up to? I want to know everything, let me wake John.” She disappeared around the corner.

     Tom collapsed into a chair. A large black box sat on an end table between a sofa and a chair. A purple neon light rose out of it, it soothed him. A crystal heart, along with a pyramid spire sat beside the light. It refracted through the crystal creating an eerie array of colors dancing on the wall. Across the room above a tan stone fireplace sat a hand hewn oak mantle. On the left of the mantle, a red and yellow clay pot held a large leafy elephant plant. A spider plant dangled over the edge to the right. A large wooden framed picture in the center caught Tom’s attention. He stood slowly, stretched, and walked to the picture. A blue suited skier was crouching extremely low, before a steep vertical among some jagged rocks. He examined it closely.

     “First Nordic Ski Descent, Grand Teton, Rick Wyatt.”

     Tom smiled to himself, leave it to John. John was the diehard of the crowd. He and Dawna were the last of the holdouts among their friends. John had been on the circuit longer than Tom. He had been to Big Sky and Bridger Bowl in Montana. John had even wintered in Alta, Utah. He had taken Tom to Honeycomb Canyon at Solitude and the Merry Chutes on Mount Millicent at Brighton in Big Cottonwood Canyon last year.

     “Tom, how the hell are you? You look great. You must be skiing a lot.”

     “Every day John, every day.”

     Tom faced his friend. John had a thick red beard, with a long light red and blond mustache. His hairline had receded since Tom had seen him last, leaving a tanned forehead and tell tale raccoon tanned eyes. John stood several inches taller than Tom.

     “I’m glad to hear you're skiing everyday.”

     “Yeah I wrangled a pass in exchange for some work in the Lodge at A-Basin, best ski season yet. I’m well over a hundred days this year.”

     “How have you really been?” Dawna asked.

     Tom shifted uncomfortably. “Things aren’t going well right now,” he stammered.

     “What’s up?”

     “I screwed up with Sara, you know me Dawna, every time things are going well. I seem to find a way to mess up badly.”

     “Are you drinking Tom?” Dawna looked concerned.

     “I acted foolishly, I-I wrote some terrible things to her.”

     “How bad?”

     “I can’t even remember John, I guess pretty bad,” Tom looked at the floor.    

     “Don’t worry a bit Tom, we'll fix you up with a ski bunny from Vail,” John said.

     “That’s just the thing John; We were really getting close. I’ve never felt this way before.”

     “’Have you tried telling her that Tom? Maybe she feels the same way about you? Dawna asked.

     “I remember John when we were first going out. He would go out of his way to do goofy things. I finally told him to grow up!”

     “It wasn’t like that, Dawna. I lost it. I wrote some dark things. There is nothing I can do to change things. I can’t undo what I’ve done.”

     “Maybe you can change the way you do things, Tom,” John said.

     “What do you mean, John?”

     “Tell you what Tom, I can get a four days pass. You can ski Vail. I’ll take you in the back bowls. It will get your energy flowing in the right direction. There’s nothing wrong with you that a few days skiing the deep won’t cure. Dawna enjoys telemark skiing, she’ll take you to Chicago Ridge at Ski Cooper, free your heel, free your mind,” he laughed loudly.

     “Ok, John, I’ll do it,” Tom said.

     “One more thing Tom, They have A.A. Meetings at the Vail Chapel. Dawna and I will go there with you. We think you need to talk to someone.”

     “I don’t know John.”

     “No hassle, the meetings are at noon. We’ll ski down at lunch and just pop in. No big deal. Tom it seems to me that every time you get your life in order, I mean when things are really going good, you get in big trouble and alcohol is usually involved.”

     “I know I would do anything not to have these problems.”

     “Sounds like a first step to me, it’s like committing to the mountain, Tom, and the first turn in a steep, gnarly chute is always the hardest. You know the rest of the saying.”

     “I know, I know, point em downhill and stand on them.”

    They all laughed heartily.

It's A Beautiful Day-Girl With No Eyes