The tear trap | AspenTimes.com
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The tear trap

Heather Hicks

Two weeks ago we awoke with a treat that to Coloradans is one of the divine privileges of living in the mountains: an elusive Aspen powder day. Suddenly normal-functioning brains switch off and a certain one-track mindedness takes command of us all. It was a Wednesday morning and I snaked my way out of the office for two whole hours. I headed up the gondola jazzed-up on my token cup of coffee, but more convinced that the buzz I felt was derived from my natural surroundings. The snowy hour that followed brought many turns and burning legs from all the extra work. Leaning way back on my skis, my phone began ringing incessantly. The ring haunted me as I descended the slopes. I knew subconsciously that something was wrong. Grabbing my phone, I saw it was my mother.”Is everything OK?””Honey, I’m sorry to do this to you now, but I wanted you to hear it from me. Your grandma passed away last night.”Shocked, I felt as though I was frozen to the mountain and began searching frantically for a familiar face or something that made sense as the snow picked up around me.With the few feet of visibility to work with, my goggles now serving absolutely no purpose but as my own personal tear trap, I forced myself to concentrate, point my skis forward and make it down the hill. I had a decent 15 minutes of skiing ahead of me that felt like an eternity.I skied down somehow, led by a blind belief that love can’t be shaken by life circumstances. Halfway across the country arrangements were being made, and all I could do was fall deep into the snow and wish for the day to be over. And then it was.


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