Attitude of gratitude

Michael “Bird” Shaffer is a crow at heart. A couch squatter in Chamonix since the 90s, he’s skied l’Envers du Plan during a full moon with Marco Siffredi, and enjoyed days in deep snow more often than he’s changed underwear. He has lived a full skibum life, from the peak of the mountains to the wildest après ski parties. He regularly breaks bones, but that’s just the way it is. Bird writes to us from his corner of paradise: a tiny community deep in Washington state where he grew up. We will see him again soon as we have dedicated a ‘black doc’ to his vision of skiing, and life.

” What does it mean to be alive each day
Is it the activities we do
Is it the roles we play “

Finally, I just feel thankful, you know when gratitude slips in and touches inside.
I’m no longer really wishing for what could have been, or kicking myself for not listening.

Picture by Jason Hummel

You see, I had a little mishap a few months ago, blowing my knees landing with skis on the grass, and all my summer plans are out the window. Surgery and healing are on the main menu.

As the sun breaks over the hill, the birds sing happily, and there is a little stir of knowing that this is truly meant to be. Again, I’m humbled remembering the beauty in the simplest of things.

How lucky to just open the door and have nature’s energy come flooding in. To be able to get outside each day, where the wild meets the porch, and wonder how the hell my parents and their friends ever found this place to settle.

Just because I can’t express myself with a speed flight on this perfect day, or go shred mountain bikes with friends, does that mean I’m not living life in the best way?.

And, for that matter does true appreciation have to come with hardship? Would I realize how good it is if not knocked down time and again? Is that the way of life, or does this bird need big awakenings?

The Rooster crows, and it is breakfast time. To waddle next door and gather eggs from my sisters chickens, some would say that’s alreadylife worth living.

Picture by Jason Hummel



Find joy in the simple movements amidst the beauty of things.

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