Sunday, September 13, 2009

Moonlight Confessional



They come to the mountain to commune with the moon. At the bottom, they stand in line, their jovial outbursts of laughter subsiding into solemn uncertainty as their turn nears. The attendant beckons them toward the ski lift and onto the platform, where they wait for the floating bench to scoop them from the earth and swoop them into the sky.

The attendant is efficient. She is chewing mint-flavored gum. There are a hundred or so in line. Their lunar offerings and confessions must be processed.

Scoop and swoop.

A ten-year-old and her parents step onto the platform. She is listening to an Ipod. Her parents are not.

Scoop and swoop

Love birds (newly engaged?) prance onto the platform. He has his arm around her.

Scoop and swoop.

Kendall pulls me up to the platform. I tell him I'm afraid of heights. He knows. So is he.

Scoop and swoop.

In the cellophane darkness, we can see the returning ski lift benches gliding past us, back toward the attendant and the hot chocolate behind us. We examine each returning sojourner. And we see them turn toward us, analyzing us. But we all remain silent, as if our words might bounce off the darkness and fall to the ground. Instead, shrouded in the chiaroscuro anonymity of midsummer moonlight, the passengers whisper to each other and to the moon.

Kendall and I, suspended high over the slope on our parallel perch, hear the their secrets and confessions.

Three blanket-cloaked figures, each one just larger than the next--like Russian nesting dolls. An understated "oops," followed by a soft thud on the mountainside. A shoe? A camera? A copy of Nabakov's Lolita?

Swoop.

On one end of a bench, a woman turns toward a man slumped in the opposite corner: "Is it a fear of the unknown?"

Swoop.

A young man: "There's so much I regret."

Swoop.

"It's not a fungus," followed by nervous giggling.

Swoop.

Forgiven and absolved, they slide off the benches and back to the earth, resuming their regularly-scheduled programming. They jingle their car keys, re-apply lip gloss, and smooth their hair. Iphones and Blackberrys emerge.

"Do you have any cash for the babysitter?" I ask Kendall. The moon, swollen to capacity, casts just enough light for Kendall to count the dollar bills in his pocket.

*****
For our ninth wedding anniversary (!) Kendall and I forked over $20 to Robert Redford's minions at the Sundance Ski Resort to take a moonlight lift ride. I was apprehensive. The last time I rode a ski lift, I badly needed to use the bathroom, I was convinced that I would fall off the lift, and it was something like negative 57 degrees outside. (It never gets that cold in Utah? Fine. Make that negative 30 degrees.) This second ride was much more interesting, as you can tell by the things we overheard. The last moonlight rides take place on October 2nd and 3d, during the next full moon.

5 comments:

  1. Ooh, makes me want to go, definitely! Happy 9th! How did your article go??? I've unfortunately lost my salsa partner.... Dangit!

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  2. I LOVE the moonlight rides. Then again I don't mind heights... the fact that you and Kendall went is slightly hilarious. Congrats on nine years.

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  3. After many years of skiing, Kendall has managed to overcome any fear of heights that ski lifts once induced. I am not as experienced with ski lifts, and I must admit that the first 5 minutes of the ride consisted of me gripping the handles, ordering Kendall to stop moving, and bracing myself for the next cable-change tower, each one of which, I was convinced, heralded my untimely death by ski-lift disaster.

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  4. I've always wanted to go on a lift ride! I would have loved to hear all the funny conversations everyone had around me. Congratulations on nine years! I'm just celebrating my sixth year. Crazy.

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  5. Carolina, what are you doing in a classroom? You should be holed up somewhere pounding out the next great American novel. Really. What an awesome piece of writing. Don't waste it all on torts!

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