By NICK CUNKELMAN
It is a common debate amongst philosophers of yore as to the existence of a God, and even more so as to His divine nature. Yet as with the eras of civilization, so doth streams of thought hold only in the interim, and thus it is equally customary for the arguments to swing like the beard of Confucius or a barometer on a New Englande windowsill. In the 18th century, for instance, when natural theology was in vogue, the logic ran thus: “Ah, Demea, take note of the organized world! Like a machine, it is! Humans build machines, no? So it must be that God is like us, that is, like the builder of a machine.”
Of course, then along came David Hume—he the staunch experiential learner who nonetheless remained indoors for much of his life—who brilliantly counterargued: “The ordered world merely implies more order, sir, so what orders God’s thoughts? Hmmm?” And so the beard swung. It would take a century and a half before intelligent design took up a similar position.
Today, however, we come to a simpler conclusion: God is a freeskier. The proof? Recall the windowsill. The barometer. And envision a campus, in central Maine, where after seven Earthly rotations of sun and snowmelt, the heavens furrowed gray and dropped the neige of Descartes at the precise thyming of the Colby College Freeride Club’s first rail jam on February 25. Members of the club, rabid experientialists all, thus met the very mind of God with both calendarical precision and, shovels in hand, pious stoke. Like them, God needed snow. And so He gave.
“Hyphyness was in full display as a potpourri of tall tees filled the hillside,” quoth Daniel P. Covert, co-president of the Freeride Club, as he reflected a posteriori on the session’s occurrence in space-time. Covert, along with the rest of the club and a plethora of existential beings, had helped to assemble the set-up that afternoon: one PVC “rail,” two “kickers,” and a “bonk” to a “punching bag,” a modern adaptation of what Socrates would call “boxing.” And so, with snow falling forth and a lone phonograph creating a disturbance in the aerial medium around the Chapel Hillside, skiers and snowboarders alike repetitively proved and disproved fundamental laws of reality.
“I was at Sugarloaf all day but came out to watch,” quoth Benjamin P. Cunkelman, a scholar of physics at the College, “and what we’re observing here is a classical system of unbounded energy. The optimization of gravitational fields intersecting on the Chapel Hill would make Einstein weep with joy. F—ing timeless.”
“Everyone was going for it and hucking their meat,” added Covert, citing Fellowes of the Club Alec D. Peters and Christopher C. Boghossian as meat-huckers of worth. “And wompy dubstep kept the crowd dancing all night.”
And indeed, as dusk turned to dark, lights from the College’s Library tower lit up the Hill, shining with a lucidity known only to those present or those able to recite the College’s motto. But even the memory, insofar as it became a projection of consciousness, remained strong.
“Lux Mentis Scientia,” quoth John D. Schroeder, a scholar of philosophy and skiing. “Knowledge is the light of the mind, but in order to turn on that light you must huck your meat. If you don’t huck you’ll live in darkness, who wants that?”
Nick Cunkelman is a senior at Colby College in Waterville, ME who grew up skiing at Vermont’s Mad River Glen, a mere three-hour drive from his home in Acton, MA. His writing has appeared in The Colby Echo, The Jackson Hole News and Guide, and The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. For more photos, go to sport-write-shoot.tumblr.com.