The persistence of almost nothing

There are very few things in this world that don't change, or that you can count on being the same upon returning after a long absence. I can count on one hand the places I still frequent that were regular visits for me as a child in the 70s and a 80s: my grandparents' house in western Massachusetts; our summer home on Nantucket; and again this winter, Mad River Glen, a ski area in Vermont. My grandparents home has a new back staircase and different furniture. Nantucket has changed quite profoundly: from our deck you now look upon a house where there used to be woods. But after a long hiatus, I returned earlier this winter to Mad River Glen — a ski area where I began skiing with my family as a very little girl and frequented every weekend for many winters while in high school — to discover that it hadn't changed a bit.

Ok, well the lodge at the base was painted a slightly different color, and they now allow you to ski in the trees whereas before we had to do it surreptitiously, but those are minor changes. Fundamentally the mountain remains the same: the same Single Chair, the same trails, the same woman directing you in the small icy parking lot where to cram your car on a busy Saturday, the same delicious burgers from the grill at lunch. In a day and age when progress is a given, when newer is nearly always seen as better, the consistency is not only refreshing, it's comforting as well.

I've spent as many days as possible this winter reacquainting myself with the mountain, rediscovering trails and cut-offs I'd long forgotten. And it's as delicious as reuniting with an old dear friend you haven't seen in ages, only to discover you've just as much in common as you did fifteen years ago. Driving up Route 17, with the mountain off in the distance, the Catamount bright and mogully in the early morning light, "Here Comes the Sun" playing on my iPod (that's progress: it use to play from my Abbey Road cassette!) I feel all the excitement I did as a fifteen-year-old heading up for a Saturday of fun.

Traditions are to be treasured, and continuity cherished. I'm so happy to have reconnected with my mountain friend again, and look forward to my final weekend of skiing for this season. It's all over too soon. It will be hard to wait until December to hang out again!