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Vienna | 20.1.2009 | 17:19 
Letters from a shrinking globe: around the day in 80 worlds

Zita, Rotifer, Steve

The Joy of Clouds, Part 2
  As the sun begins to sink, you are sitting at the top of the mountain, sipping small but robust coffees, warming your back against the smooth tiles of the stove, and quietly playing cards. You look out of the window and watch the helmets disappearing down the mountain, along with the non-helmets and the most scary Alpine fauna of all - the I-pod-compatible helmets.

And you are glad to see the back of them, because, from all your French literature lessons with the wildly-moustachioed Monsieur Raymond, the only detail you can actually remember is that Jean-Paul Sartre must have had skiers in mind when he concluded that hell is, in fact, "other people".
  But when the OTHERS have all gone down, and so have the last dregs of caffeine in your cup, the hill belongs only to you and your friends. So you venture out and you bash your boots hard with your battered old poles and step into your bindings with that solid, satisfactory clunk.

And the wind is blowing little eddies of snow around your boots as you fasten them up tightly, and you take gulp in a deep lungful of the frosty air, before straightening to look down towards the valley below. And you see with delight today the clouds are creeping around the near peaks like the tide coming into an archipelago of islands.

And today, for once, the lift ticket can be as extortionate as it wants.
  And by now the top layer of powdery snow that had softened under the glare of the midday sun has frozen again in the rapidly dropping temperature and so, when you launch yourself off the edge of the mountain into your first turn, the skis make a loud crunchy scratching noise instead of the smooth hiss of before the card game, and it all seems frighteningly loud in the silence of the mountain.

But still the edges grip in easily and smoothly and they swing you around like a train on rails and then there is a swoop and sudden rush as the run suddenly dips down steeper and your knees are bent like a grasshopper with your stomach left briefly behind.
  But you are in a rhythm now and the clouds are rushing nearer and nearer soon you'll be in them and the light will have gone.

But for now that's a world away and right now, just for this this brief wonderful moment, nothing negative exists at all in your universe: there's no financial crisis, there are no over-draughts and no patronising bank managers. And there's neither terror nor anti-terror and there's no global warming.

That's all back down in the darkening valley still many turns away. For now, all of that can wait.
  (There is no Part 3 by strict command of the bank manager)
fm4 links
  The Joy of Clouds Part 1
 Übersicht: Alle ORF-Angebote auf einen Blick