Winter Places in the Summer

Excerpt from a notebook, written July 2019

The ideal place – it is the place I always want to be – perhaps you can pinpoint yours, too. My favourite places are, quite specifically, ski lodges in summer.

I do love winter. I’m a skier. Sometimes I get agitated when I am hot — and find solace in the cold. Winter is energy, aprés, chairlifts to hours of sliding in soft, white glows. 

But summers – solitary, warmer seasons in these wonderlands – are abandoned insulated buildings, devoid of the hustle-bustle of outerwear, endless moments of calm looking out over green mountains shrouded in suspended humidity; still green despite the anticipation of approaching hibernation, still irrefutably rumbling with adventure and delight.

I wander pine-lined corridors in a towel. My toothbrush is the only one on the stand, and I can leave it there for my whole time, with no worries of it bothering others, or of others bothering me. I am alone in a room meant for eight, cosy bunks, all of which could tell tales of late-night episodes. I sleep well, reminiscent of long nights spent in places like this, following long days on white slopes with friends, traversed over and over until our limbs have given out. These places render solid slumber in winter and summer.

Now, here, huge bugs bump against the outside walls and larger animals rustle in the foliage below my open window. I feel on the edge of the world here – and I am. This lodge is the last on the street, tucked in beside the sprawling state forest and its impenetrable undergrowth. There is an electric blue, alpine river running below, perhaps a kilometre down, impossible to reach other than by leaving the road and crawling under the big bridge. Its round, river rock sounds blend with big drops of rainwater gifted from summer rain clouds, seductively delivered from the night sky above my bed.

I liberally hang my hand-washed underwear on the rails of the other bunks; it spells joy and luxury to take up the ample space afforded me. I shower with the door unlocked, knowing that the undertaker will not come this way tonight. I can hear rhythms coming from his room and the occasional movement of his office chair above my head as I climb the stairs to retrieve some paper.

The beds in the other room are still unmade since three Japanese men stayed last night. We are unconcerned with that. I am the only other guest for the foreseeable future.