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Chamonic Redux

24 March 2009


Deju vu. I’m in Chamonix again, with FanFan, surrounded by glacier ice. He’s wearing the same clothes, the same pack, skiing through seracs and around crevasses and I’m off to the side, shooting. We’re filming the bits and bobs that we need to complete The Edge of Never film. FanFan? Well, he’s FanFan. So he’s skiing strong, so strong. And in charge, hiking up, sidestepping, sending small waves of snow cascading. Probing the snow with his pole, looking for crevasses, checking to see where the glacier ice is beneath the soft new snow above.

A wave of the hand to tell me it’s good. Let’s go.

I’m counting him down, thinking this is all too familiar. Spooky. He’s lowering his goggles, clicking his poles together three times, snapping snow off the baskets, focusing his attention. Two turns, three, his power is immense, his authority complete. And then, as he hits the transition to the flat bench, his tip dives. He cracks at the waist, bends as if taking a bow… And now he’s flying forward…


<Feedback loop>

Through the viewfinder he disappears, hands reaching into space. Through the lens, through the looking glass. What? NO! How can this be happening again? Haven’t I already moved past this? Time on a line, a straight continuum, this event, highlighted in red, somewhere to the left of my steadily proceeding >>>

Hit the square button. STOP. Rewind. <<<

Four years back, the same fall brings a broken neck and arm and leg and all the ribs on one side and a punctured lung. And survival, for him, barely. And me, so shaken… Lessons learned. Stories written. Close the book. Roll credits.

Or not.

Punch play >>> Back to today. I lower the camera, eyeing out of the viewfinder. Iris expanding. White light. And laughter. Yes. Laughter. 

FanFan’s. As he brushes snow off his chin. And we share looks — really, did that just happen again? — and then laughing together. Laughing at what? Irony? Synchronicity? 

The completed circle <> 

Off the glacier. Safe. Happy.

Together. That’s a wrap.