Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring skiing could heal the nation


The world's a mess.

Japan's nuclear reactors are leaking levels of radioactive matter that push monitors higher every week. The country is periodically shaken by aftershocks that trigger warnings of more tsunamis.

It seems like all the countries of the Middle East are on the verge of civil war, finishing up a civil war or trying to recover from a major war.

Northern Mexico is overrun by drug gangs who gleefully murder police or innocent bystanders without a thought to keep their illegal drugs flowing into the United States and to keep money flowing into their bank accounts.

Americans who live in the Northwest are finding out which way the wind blows because detectable traces of radioactivity from Japan are showing up in rainfall.

Congress and the president are trying to figure out how to sustain wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and support intervention in Libya. At the same, they're trying to get the country's financial house in order and find some semblance of balance between brutally competing economic theories that call for spending our way into prosperity or saving our way into prosperity.

Republicans are red faced and shouting; Democrats are whispering rationalizations. Tea party types can't say anything good about anyone and don't seem to like anyone very much. Fox Network's Glenn Beck got fired, and so did MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.

In the meantime, the price of gas at the pump is climbing, glaciers keep melting, corals keep dying, the weather's been abominable in most of the country for most of the winter, electric cars still seem a long way from reality and Westerners keep howling about wolves.

The world's condition is aggravating, confusing and seemingly intractable. There's only one thing to be done: Take a break from these troubles and go skiing.

The Sun Valley area's Bald Mountain is sitting on some of the best snow it's had in years, and the spring sun is beginning to shine. Unlike Jackson Hole, Wyo., which closed like clockwork on April 3, leaving residents to gaze longingly at its tram, Baldy is still open with corn-snow afternoons in the offing through Easter.

Mental health specialists preach that relaxed, balanced minds work better than minds stressed by information overload and fatigue. There's nothing more healing than taking a look at the world from a 9,000-foot mountaintop and then sliding to the bottom. Anyone reading this needs to pack up the car, load up the skis and boards, and let their brains manufacture some comforting endorphins under Sun Valley's cornflower skies. And, they should invite a senator or congressman to go with them. It might be the best thing we could do for the country.




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