In the flow

Jonathan VanAntwerpen | Skiing at Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe, California

Among those things sorely missed in this year plus of pandemic: spring trips to northern California, to spend time with dear family and friends, and — yes — to ski. From The New York Times Magazine, a few years back:

What I love about skiing is that it is nothing if not improvising inside the vanishing moment. At a great speed (say, 50 m.p.h.), in rapidly changing circumstances (snow configuration and texture, trees coming at you, patches of ice, light angles shifting, etc.), you have to make a series of not only correct but also irreversible decisions: the weight shifts, the bend in the knees, the position of the upper body, the planting of the poles, the turn made on top of the mogul, or beyond the tree. You can plan one or two decisions in advance, but readiness to make an instant adjustment is always required, as everything around you is swiftly and constantly changing.

In the flow, you have no time for reflective or analytical thinking. Your body needs to work in concert with the mind absolutely, simultaneously and unconditionally — you can kiss your Cartesian split goodbye.

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Jonathan VanAntwerpen

Jonathan VanAntwerpen is a program director at the Henry Luce Foundation. Originally trained as a philosopher, he holds a Ph.D. in sociology from UC-Berkeley.