Purity

 

 

This guy freaking hates helmet cams

 

And yet it was in some way if not as memory fabled it. A phrase, then, of impatience, thud of Blake's wings of excess. I hear the ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling masonry, and time one livid final flame. What's left us then?

Joyce, Ulysses

 

 

The other day, I looked down from the chairlift. 

Below me, there was a man standing with a video camera on his head.  The device perched, ridiculously really, at the apex of his helmet.  Depressing in an existential sort of way, but quite utilitarian nevertheless.  Such is the direction of things.

A video of a day ripping the hardwood alleyways of Jay Peak with some super awesome soundtrack featuring Beyonce and friends is nice - especially with a suede couch and some beer and wine in which to enjoy the feature - but ultimately, it is nothing more than novelty.

A camera does not lie, and memory is famously (and romantically) unreliable.  And so you see, therein rests the problem. 

Coming soon to a hill near you

Just as we cannot go home again, as they say, we cannot, no matter how hard we try, duplicate experience.   Once a moment has passed, it is lost - nothing left but an echo. Close your eyes and open them once more.  The world is born again.  

Outside of simulation and duplication are the moments in which we live (though, in our age it becomes harder and harder to separate the two - just ask Jean Baudrillard).  And although tenuous in the extreme, the moments experienced in the present -  within a single, deliberate turn through a still winter forest - have enough potency to touch the soul.

When we look close enough, and long enough, we find some unbridled sense of permanence, a glimpse at what lies at the end of our search.  Something true.  Each turn down the fall line after a storm kindles something. A shard of consciousness, which we don't necessarily understand, but we feel - like wrapping your arms around someone you love.

It is these things that matter. 

Feeling then - suffocated by many, intentionally or otherwise, drowned in alcohol, displaced by constant motion, denied out of fear, battered by television - late nights at the office, teeth whiteners, sleepless nights. Emotional paralysis.

The places in which we live serve as a partial refusal of that destiny.  We congregate in towns, the names of which provoke a frown, or the raise of an eyebrow.  And we live.  Riding the mountains that guard these towns, like sentinels, become our moments of worship. 

This is our gambit.  It is our move away from artifice towards the things that matter.  But it is not supplication; it is a power struggle.  It is the rider's finesse against the mountains permanence - this creating that moment of understanding, however brief it may be.  Fleeting, like Blake's wings of excess but as powerful as the deepest recesses of imagination and memory.

So we end the day, often with satisfaction, a smile, desire having been quenched  - and we are left to settle in the aftermath.  And if you planned ahead, you may have filmed it from your helmet cam.  Good for you.  But then we look, and we wonder, and then  - just like that - it's gone.

Operations Shots