I went to Salzburg for a while for some rest and recreation after driving myself to exhaustion on stage.
All the excitement has recently centered on Yuzuru Hanyu’s graceful performance resulting in his gold medal at the Olympics, but Salzburg too, is a mecca for extreme sports, bustling with people, both professional and amateur, who come to enjoy all kinds of winter sports. People here grow accustomed to snow since childhood, and they not only enjoy skiing and skating, but they also wear narrow skis to have fun skiing on the snow as if ice skating, enjoy the thrill of ice climbing on frozen walls of ice, and climb 3,300-meter snow-covered mountains that are only slightly lower than Mt. Fuji to ski down its slopes while keeping an eye out for avalanches, and they often do this on a daily basis. So it is not at all unusual for children of ordinary families to own around three types of skis for every time, place and occasion, and own avalanche beacons for emergencies, or for families to own avalanche airbags.
With my fear of heights combined with my fear of speed, I am unfortunately unable to ski, skate or snowboard. However, I began walking with snowshoes last year, and during my one-week stay in Salzburg too, I went hiking almost every day in the mountains behind the place where I was staying, making squelching sounds as I walked on the virgin powder snow that had not been trampled by anyone. The air temperature was minus 2 to 3℃, numbing the tip of my nose and turning my cheeks pink as if I had applied rouge on them. But all it took was for me to take ten steps in my snowshoes to start feeling so warm that I quickly became hot. It was a very peaceful time. In the tranquility of the mountains, all I could hear were the sounds of my own breathing, my feet sinking into the snow, and the wind gently caressing my cheeks, with the silence occasionally broken by the thudding sound of snow as fell from the branches of trees unable to withstand its weight. Far from my worries of having to remember long lines, or the hassles of filling out tax return forms, I was able to spend a moment of supreme bliss, not thinking about anything but simply spending time staring up at the sky, trees and snow as if meditating while walking. The delicate tracks of wild deer carved into pure white snowfields, with snow covering every delicate twig and leaf stretching across the empty sky, created sublime beauty that no art in any art museum could ever hope to capture.