Skiing in the Shower

Confessions of a Mountain Girl

 Joey Puglesi

The standout was Aspen ski instructor and owner of Transformational Adventures, Kate Howe. Her words ached of pain, rang with humor. Even there, on the stage, she was fighting breast cancer. Amidst that invisible war, she turned an uproarious narrative about an old man with odd sexual proclivities on a ski trip in Europe into a joyous and heart-wrecking anthem of the self and of the love she has for her own titties(her word).

The next day I met Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer who was giving a poetry workshop, another event Alya had organized. Rosemerry is Poet Laureate of the Western Slope, and she is as gifted a poetess as she is a teacher and creative inspiration. I had never attended a writing workshop, but by the end I had magically transmuted a burnt forest into my broken heart.

And then there was this coda to the weekend: a Ute Tribal Pow Wow. A powerful war drum. Voices, electric and bright, cutting the air like lightning. Dancers using their bodies to tell us what the winged ones had done; spinning hoops to transform into animals and galaxies; tassels of yellow and pink; songs calling to the spirits for a prosperous spring, an end to winter.

And then the rain came down.

We all have wounds to heal, of cancer or of genocide; and the stories we tell– word or dance or song– do the work of opening us to the cleansing waters. I stood in that rain, face up, and couldn’t say whether tears or droplets covered my cheeks.

It was an enchanting weekend; and the next time I need an art fix, I’ll look for Alya’s Umbrella to duck under.

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