The Avalanche

Skiing down through deep powder snow
And as I spun, the mountain fell,
Laid down at its foot like the curve of a bell,
Crumpled and dead, and fearsome to see
The power of tension and gravity,

Rocks lay exposed, trees broken and ripped
A scar on the mountain where it slid and slipped
No less a king, the peak is capped by a crown
Five feet deep, all the way to the ground

I stand above, where I stopped in time
And time stopped for a while, between death and life,
A few feet further, a few more degrees,
A bit more snow, a bit more speed,

Incremental, the differences ‘tween
Snow stifled screams, and breathy relief
Sliced, diced, and packed in ice
So little lies between death and life

Should I have been swept away in that moment of truth?
Was it angels who saved me, strumming harps, playing flutes?
No, there weren’t angels, nor the hand of some God
It was pure luck, rare fortune that stopped my near fall

I saw the signs, I read the snow
The aspect, elevation and direction wind blows,
They went into my mind, but didn’t stay long,
I would ski this damn mountain no matter what seemed wrong

And now I’m alive by a simple coin flip,
Not skill, not foresight, not an old timer’s tip
There’s nothing to brag up, and nothing to play down
It is what it is, but I’m certainly not proud

I’d rather be smart, I’d rather have not skied,
But it took an avalanche to finally, finally make me see,
Next time, yes next time, I’ll heed the signs
I’m just glad I was spared, by mistake or by design.