Shapes of Pirin

The curves of a woman or the curves of Pirin, it’s a similar affair, the passion is real, and love is strongest in spring and spring is strongest in love is strongest in the crisp air, between snow and sky, all is clear, the peaks are calling, goats and people feeling the urge, subconscious, go up, go up and feed yourselves, my children, says god, and we obey, in snow and sun and happiness, passengers on these slopes crossing paths, marking territory, we are here, and we’re alive, scavenging for the food these bodies crave, stalks of grass or fields of snow, we go feeding, eyes wide open, reflecting the shine of the crystals and things as they are, as they should be, pure and beautiful, we are players in the white garden.

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Epic win, epic fail, and the good life

Adriana Gomezphoto: Adriana Gomez, ZarzaFilms

 

As the winners, from 10th to 1st place, were called one by one to the loud applausе of the Mexican spectators and fellow pilots to the flooding lights of the podium, I was saluting them all at slightly different volumes, each determined by my respectometer, but saving my loudest to that one and only first place, to the Champion we have this year.  Not just because he was first – I don’t care much about that (the respectometer determines your ranking better than the World Cup formula) – but because of the sheer style in which he won.  Continue reading

One Love

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It was two years ago, here in Valle de Bravo, that I lost my friend Rafal Luckos.  But, back in the same narrow cobble stone streets, between the same traditional white-and-red houses, in the town garden in front of the same cathedral with the crazy pyromaniac priest shooting rockets from its roof at dawn, at a table at one of the cheap local restaurants at the market where we would have late lunch after a task, in the vans taking us on the red dirt road to launch, in the pine forest behind launch where we’d prepare our wings before takeoff, and, of course, back in the epic Valle skies – I remember my friend.  And, with every letter and every word I write about him, I am reminding the world too that he existed, that he was here among us, laughing his big booming Polish heart out, shining his handsome teeth to any friend or passerby who would look his way, and, shouting the classic Rafal “ATTACK!”, charge the skies with the fastest and the best of us. Continue reading

Pretty pictures, scary weather

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In my previous post I mentioned that Valle de Bravo is world famous for its history of 100% flyable days during the last 13 years of competitions here.  For its crazy consistent microclimate.  Well, yesterday and today we made history, as both days’ tasks were canceled because of never-seen-before conditions in January – specifically, a freak west wind stronger than ever at this time of year (caused, it seems, by some combination of the shifting jet stream currents and a north front that’s penetrated deeper south than usual).

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Back to Valle

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It’s this time of year again, when we gringos brush the dust off our half-frozen wings, pack them in a big bag together with some shorts, flip flops and sun screen, and migrate south to the winter promised land of Latin America to enjoy that warm, half-forgotten sunshine softening the harsh white of our skins, the mellow vibe of daily life among the locals (not to mention other daily trivialities, like fresh tropical fruit, veggies, and all kinds of other culinary luxuries), and some of the best natural playgrounds in the world for our Game in the skies.

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