The Rush of the Posse

Find your tribe, and leave your trail on the slope

PHOTO: Liam Doran

The idea begins alone, nothing but a mote,
a bare, particulate notion on which layers
grow, attaching outward in even ranks

ordered by temperature and weather,
the whole mass drifting down, wheeling
heedless in gravitational abandon and

not so different from a skier on the hashed
map of a slope, how they wind and turn
according to a shy principle in the hips,

a rhythm innate that flares flakey, vibrant
in slash and the roosked wake, the particles
by the thousands tossed, jostled like letters

on a page, the way a keyboard clatters or
a pen scratches ink into trenches, curves,
lines that trace a track where someone

once marked a medium, leaving their trail
indelibly written; sounds like ridden in
the past-tense sense of the track laid

down; sounds like driven as in the hurtle
of the flakes storming earthward,
their careening and quick attraction to

pile so stolidly in heaps, washes, drifts
of their fellow specks, the center of each a
grain floating lightly, and their new vibrance

surging forth as the dull, collective sound of
everything and everyone rushing, cascading
even fairly floating down over the snow.

David Steele is a skier and writer based in Whitefish, Montana. His column, Graupel, appears every month.