I push my truck up the mountain one last time, up those winding turns, past the cattle grid, into the wide carpark at TBJ. The crowds are gone, the cafe is closed, the alpine ash murmur quitely in a slow, warm breeze. The stream races past and the tea tree looks relieved that another winter has come and gone.

But I need one more fix. I sort my gear, sit on the back tray of the truck, food and skis and stuff stashed away. My heart feels light. Melbourne is a long way back.

Up from the junction, take the right fork, need to get up there soon, past tree line. Up Bluff Spur, that clearing where the snow gums ease in, the stream, pumping with snow melt from above. Buller off to the side, first flush of yellow as the acacia goes into wild bloom. Finally, crusty old snow, classic spring corn, big granules of ice. And scattered everywhere, sheets of bark and leaves and branches and buds off the gums, chewed up by gangs of black cockatoos. That flat spot where you see the summit – not as much snow as I had hoped, then back into the tangle of snow gum, past the hut, and up that last slog of hillside to the saddle between the peaks.

I stand at the top of Stanley Bowl, white slopes beneath. Distant blue hills and scrappy fuzz of clearcut and rocky forest way below. I slide back and forth on my skis, poles planted, heels lifting. Below, one last drop before the long summer and dusty roads and work and endless heat, waiting for those cold fronts to push through off the southern ocean. Just before I drop, I feel on the cusp of height and gravity, a small, fleeting moment of grace. I wait a minute more, weightless and happy and alone and yet in company. The whole world below beckons, and I treasure the thought of those few minutes of turns and no time for any other thoughts, and then push off into that space and that moment. One last time.