Whistling to Baldy – Mk Story from Patrick LongAn Mk Story from Patrick LongAn Mk Story from Patrick Long

It was January in Idaho and I was lucky enough to be spending a work day on the slopes of my favorite mountain in the stunningly beautiful Sun Valley.  I was by myself.  My family and friends unable to join me on my sudden business trip to Idaho.  I had arrived at dusk at the River lodge, the surrounding mountains glowing in a halo of warm orange and pink.

Later that night, prior to going to sleep at the mountain’s foot, I walked out alone into the snow of the street to stare up at the Milky Way and the countless stars that edged the mountain’s silhouette.  I slept soundly in front of a fire, with good food and a pint from the bar next door, dreaming of snowboarding.

When I awoke at dawn, it was crisp and clear.  The sky a cloudless white blue and a special gift awaited me.  Sometime during the night three inches of fresh, powdery snow had arrived.  My heart sang.  I knew it was going to be a great day.

I went up the mountain alone in the gondola.  When I got to the top, there was not a soul.  No one had come out for an early ski on a work day.  The mountain was mine.  I pointed in a direction and began to drift then careen down the slopes.

That morning, I enjoyed the best snowboarding of my life.  My hand occasionally dipping into the ‘white sea’ as I carved hard across the face of steep runs.  Periodically, I’d drop to my knees exhausted from non stop runs to look out across one view after another of the mountain range surrounding me.

I could feel a happy energy filling my soul and touching every fiber of being, propelling me forward still.  By Noon I was ready for a break.  So I headed to the Seattle Ridge Lodge.  Perched at nearly 9,000 feet on Mt. Baldy this Lodge has no peer when it comes to views, comfort and food.  It is the best one in all of America.  I dropped my board at the door, stripped off my backpack and gear by the fireplace and worked my way through the short line of people, coming back with bottle of Harp and some amazing smelling chili.

I sat in front of the main widows with a floor to ceiling panorama of the mountains.  It was like being in someone else’s life.  I don’t know how it came about but I realized at some point that I had overlooked my whistle when I was packing my back pack.  Unplanned, I had brought it with me snowboarding.

Full and warm and incredibly happy, I didn’t give it a second thought as I pulled the whistle out and began to play, literally to the mountains before me.

I did a couple of my favorites and then transitioned into some ‘mindless’ freestyle for the sheer joy of it.   I lost track of time and place and really have no idea how long I was going, but when I stopped, a woman I had not noticed sit near me, leaned over and said, “that was wonderful!”

That made me look up.

I was caught completely by surprise.   Gathered around me, some sitting, some standing were more than a dozen or so people all of whom had certainly stopped to listen.

I was stunned.

No one was in the room when I sat down.  So focused on playing, I hadn’t noticed anyone come in.

Now I am anything but a performer and play solely for myself.  However, in this one instance the whistle acted as it was truly meant to, a conduit for complex, inner feelings to be expressed and a beacon for others to come together.

Unquestionably embarrassed by their attention, I smiled, thanked the woman quietly, nodded to the folks around me and hastily put my whistle back into my bag, geared up and continued on with what was one of the best days of my life.

That time spent on a mountain top alone playing a whistle out of sheer joy and then finding myself surrounded by people brought together by the love of its music remains a timeless memory for me.

It was January in Idaho and I was lucky enough to be spending a work day on the slopes of my favorite mountain in the stunningly beautiful Sun Valley.  I was by myself.  My family and friends unable to join me on my sudden business trip to Idaho.  I had arrived at dusk at the River lodge, the surrounding mountains glowing in a halo of warm orange and pink.

Later that night, prior to going to sleep at the mountain’s foot, I walked out alone into the snow of the street to stare up at the Milky Way and the countless stars that edged the mountain’s silhouette.  I slept soundly in front of a fire, with good food and a pint from the bar next door, dreaming of snowboarding.

When I awoke at dawn, it was crisp and clear.  The sky a cloudless white blue and a special gift awaited me.  Sometime during the night three inches of fresh, powdery snow had arrived.  My heart sang.  I knew it was going to be a great day.

I went up the mountain alone in the gondola.  When I got to the top, there was not a soul.  No one had come out for an early ski on a work day.  The mountain was mine.  I pointed in a direction and began to drift then careen down the slopes.

That morning, I enjoyed the best snowboarding of my life.  My hand occasionally dipping into the ‘white sea’ as I carved hard across the face of steep runs.  Periodically, I’d drop to my knees exhausted from non stop runs to look out across one view after another of the mountain range surrounding me.

I could feel a happy energy filling my soul and touching every fiber of being, propelling me forward still.  By Noon I was ready for a break.  So I headed to the Seattle Ridge Lodge.  Perched at nearly 9,000 feet on Mt. Baldy this Lodge has no peer when it comes to views, comfort and food.  It is the best one in all of America.  I dropped my board at the door, stripped off my backpack and gear by the fireplace and worked my way through the short line of people, coming back with bottle of Harp and some amazing smelling chili.

I sat in front of the main widows with a floor to ceiling panorama of the mountains.  It was like being in someone else’s life.  I don’t know how it came about but I realized at some point that I had overlooked my whistle when I was packing my back pack.  Unplanned, I had brought it with me snowboarding.

Full and warm and incredibly happy, I didn’t give it a second thought as I pulled the whistle out and began to play, literally to the mountains before me.

I did a couple of my favorites and then transitioned into some ‘mindless’ freestyle for the sheer joy of it.   I lost track of time and place and really have no idea how long I was going, but when I stopped, a woman I had not noticed sit near me, leaned over and said, “that was wonderful!”

That made me look up.

I was caught completely by surprise.   Gathered around me, some sitting, some standing were more than a dozen or so people all of whom had certainly stopped to listen.

I was stunned.

No one was in the room when I sat down.  So focused on playing, I hadn’t noticed anyone come in.

Now I am anything but a performer and play solely for myself.  However, in this one instance the whistle acted as it was truly meant to, a conduit for complex, inner feelings to be expressed and a beacon for others to come together.

Unquestionably embarrassed by their attention, I smiled, thanked the woman quietly, nodded to the folks around me and hastily put my whistle back into my bag, geared up and continued on with what was one of the best days of my life.

That time spent on a mountain top alone playing a whistle out of sheer joy and then finding myself surrounded by people brought together by the love of its music remains a timeless memory for me.

It was January in Idaho and I was lucky enough to be spending a work day on the slopes of my favorite mountain in the stunningly beautiful Sun Valley.  I was by myself.  My family and friends unable to join me on my sudden business trip to Idaho.  I had arrived at dusk at the River lodge, the surrounding mountains glowing in a halo of warm orange and pink.

Later that night, prior to going to sleep at the mountain’s foot, I walked out alone into the snow of the street to stare up at the Milky Way and the countless stars that edged the mountain’s silhouette.  I slept soundly in front of a fire, with good food and a pint from the bar next door, dreaming of snowboarding.

When I awoke at dawn, it was crisp and clear.  The sky a cloudless white blue and a special gift awaited me.  Sometime during the night three inches of fresh, powdery snow had arrived.  My heart sang.  I knew it was going to be a great day.

I went up the mountain alone in the gondola.  When I got to the top, there was not a soul.  No one had come out for an early ski on a work day.  The mountain was mine.  I pointed in a direction and began to drift then careen down the slopes.

That morning, I enjoyed the best snowboarding of my life.  My hand occasionally dipping into the ‘white sea’ as I carved hard across the face of steep runs.  Periodically, I’d drop to my knees exhausted from non stop runs to look out across one view after another of the mountain range surrounding me.

I could feel a happy energy filling my soul and touching every fiber of being, propelling me forward still.  By Noon I was ready for a break.  So I headed to the Seattle Ridge Lodge.  Perched at nearly 9,000 feet on Mt. Baldy this Lodge has no peer when it comes to views, comfort and food.  It is the best one in all of America.  I dropped my board at the door, stripped off my backpack and gear by the fireplace and worked my way through the short line of people, coming back with bottle of Harp and some amazing smelling chili.

I sat in front of the main widows with a floor to ceiling panorama of the mountains.  It was like being in someone else’s life.  I don’t know how it came about but I realized at some point that I had overlooked my whistle when I was packing my back pack.  Unplanned, I had brought it with me snowboarding.

Full and warm and incredibly happy, I didn’t give it a second thought as I pulled the whistle out and began to play, literally to the mountains before me.

I did a couple of my favorites and then transitioned into some ‘mindless’ freestyle for the sheer joy of it.   I lost track of time and place and really have no idea how long I was going, but when I stopped, a woman I had not noticed sit near me, leaned over and said, “that was wonderful!”

That made me look up.

I was caught completely by surprise.   Gathered around me, some sitting, some standing were more than a dozen or so people all of whom had certainly stopped to listen.

I was stunned.

No one was in the room when I sat down.  So focused on playing, I hadn’t noticed anyone come in.

Now I am anything but a performer and play solely for myself.  However, in this one instance the whistle acted as it was truly meant to, a conduit for complex, inner feelings to be expressed and a beacon for others to come together.

Unquestionably embarrassed by their attention, I smiled, thanked the woman quietly, nodded to the folks around me and hastily put my whistle back into my bag, geared up and continued on with what was one of the best days of my life.

That time spent on a mountain top alone playing a whistle out of sheer joy and then finding myself surrounded by people brought together by the love of its music remains a timeless memory for me.


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