View Full Version : Bridger's Bowl (beginning of part 2)

April 28th, 2014, 05:02 AM
It was one of those strange December days; a day filled with atmospheric curiosities, in which the vast Wyoming sky didn’t know whether to smile or to frown. A surreal landscape was the result of this emotional ambiguity, one in which sunlight and blue sky mingled freely with snowflakes and dancing vortices of dark and light cloud vapor. The rolling high-prairie was mottled and bruised with light and shadow from the spectacle above, and large patches of snow covered the landscape in haphazard patterns.

The locals had described the weather as “quirky” and indeed it was. In fact, it could be said that it was an all around quirky day. A certain static charge filled the air, perhaps due to the colliding weather fronts or dropping barometric pressure, and it seemed to sharpen people’s senses, prick up their ears, and generally add to a widespread, giggly, anxious, and zippy mood.

Folks were talking rapidly about anything they could think to talk about. Their paces quickened, they grunted, and sputtered, and checked their watches excessively. Supermarkets were flooded with people buying nothing in particular. When a man opened a newspaper on the street, five or six others would crowd around him and point out articles to each other that they had read earlier in the day. A woman dropped her grocery bag on the sidewalk and three separate people from three separate corners crossed the intersection to help her clean up. An elderly gentleman had stopped in front of a pharmacy and began dictating his life story, addressing no one at all. An hour later a crowd of forty-three men, women, and children had gathered around him, listening raptly to every precious word.

It may have been the temperature, it may have been the amount of ions in the air, but most likely it was the light. It was vivid, like a cloudy film had been pulled from the surface of everything. It was intensely white, but with a purple quality as well, as if the visible spectrum had been shifted ever so slightly into the ultra-violet. This electromagnetic phenomenon had tuned the collective human frequency to a channel of buzz-saw static that made fingers tap, feet shuffle, and people stand up and move just for the sake of moving. If nothing else they would have walked in circles next to sitting still on that day.

In the middle of all this there was a man alone, on the one day when being alone was almost intolerable. He coasted through the brown and white polka dotted landscape on a ribbon of crushed stone, carefully guiding the tiller of his own personal insulated box-on-wheels. This man’s name was Kaushal Patki, and his day had been spent hopping from one insulated enclosure to the next. First he traveled from San Francisco to Denver in a large insulated tube which hurtled him through the sky at 400 mph. Then he traveled from Denver to Gillette in a smaller insulated tube which hurtled him through the sky at 250 mph. Now he traveled from Gillette to Bridger’s Bowl hurtling across the pavement in his own insulated box at 65 mph. His box-on-wheels was considered a very fancy and desirable box-on-wheels and could have easily gone faster, but Kaushal was in no hurry. The strange weather, temperature, pressure, and light combined with his solitude had put him into a contemplative mood, and his thoughts drifted as freely as the wispy clouds that floated low overhead.