I go powder skiing around Camp Tamok outside Tromsø. All is well. I fly over everything like a fool, and do a few tricks that impress my instructor, Roy. “How can you do that,” he wants to know, and I disclose that it’s my yoga education that enables me to walk well into my forties while allowing myself to do unconventional things in the snow. Finally, of course, I also learn a few tricks. In between magic I take a moment to enjoy the breaking of light through the marvelous landscape, and a quote flashes through me. I find this annoying, as I’m not here to think. But, as the case is, Jane Austen insists on interfering: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” I look at Roy, who tells me that the best about powder skiing is that you never have to explain what it does to you. “If you had to explain it, it means that people wouldn’t get it,” he goes, and I like his logic. I file Jane Austen’s remark to the back of my head – hell no, I actually banish it from my head – as it occurs to me that there’s nothing more pathetic in the world than the culture which holds such artificial universals. “Should we go again,” Roy asks, thus interrupting my reverie, and I say, “yes,” with my whole body and all the promises I made to my soul. I never did a conventional thing in my life, and I don’t see any reason why I should start now. Thank god for snow and free men who remind me of what the meaning of life is. All hail to my beloved, Norway, and everything else it has got in it.


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