Sunday, September 30, 2012

One Year

One year ago today I arrived in Colorado. 

One year ago today I started getting back to where I was supposed to be, in more ways than one. 

And in that year, here are just a few highlights.

I took a 4-day ice climbing trip to Ouray. 

I started outdoor rock climbing (after years of doing it indoors). I've climbed approximately 100 routes since February. I've climbed in Eldorado Canyon, Boulder Canyon, Clear Creak Canyon, a couple places near Estes Park, Cheyenne Canyon, the Garden of the Gods, Eleven Mile Canyon (still my favorite), Golden Gate State Park, Devil's Head, Turkey Rocks, and Shelf Road. I took a 5-day climbing trip around Colorado this past summer.

Three of my closest friends from Texas came to visit me. Stephanie and Janet in July. Chrissy left yesterday.

I got to see my BFF from high school this summer, for about 5 hours. Such a short amount of time, we didn't even take a picture. This one from a couple summers ago will have to do. 
Speaking of high school - I've reconnected with some other "old" friends...

I jumped out of an airplane...  

I've hiked about 150 miles. I recorded only 139 of those, but there have been hikes in and out of climbing places, so I'm estimating. 
Longest hike: 23 miles to the Bottomless Pit with Brent this past summer. 
(Tho this is at Pancake Rocks).

I just want to say, I've loved my first year back "home." 
But I also want to keep it real. I hear complaints occasionally that Facebook is a place where everyone puts on their best face, shows only what they want people to see.
I see it a little bit differently.
I spend a lot of time focusing on the good in my life, because I don't see the point in focusing on the bad. There has been plenty of that. I HATED my first two jobs here. Getting up every day was a mind-numbing, soul-draining chore. I missed the boys' first day of school this year because I had to work. Even now, I am rarely home to see them off to school. I had $6 in my bank account last time I got paid. I need to repair a bunch of stuff on my van.

See what I mean? But why dwell on that stuff? Although I know some people that do. In a one-week period this month I had two people pretty much unable to hold a conversation with me because they couldn't think of anything positive to say about their lives.

So I'll keep focusing on the positives, thankyouverymuch.
Just give me blue skies... 

Monday, September 10, 2012


There are days when things seem to split wide open.
When I think I've dealt with certain emotions and then something happens to make me realize that, no, I've only dealt with one layer of that emotion. There are more underneath. I just didn't realize it until something happened that allowed me to peer deeper inside the crack.

That happened to me last week.
It was a week full of unexpected news,
upsetting circumstances,
learning again that nothing in this world is certain except change.

(That's not me, that's MJ).

And then there was the climbing on Saturday.
Crack climbing. New to me.
So completely different than any kind I've ever done before, there's no way to even compare them.

It started out with protection. Tape gloves. So you don't lose all the flesh on the back of your hand.

Then came learning how to slip my hand into a crack until it jammed, and using my hand as a piece of gear to pull myself up - while also trying to get both feet into the same crack, one above the other. It was thrilling and amazing and uncomfortable and intense all at the same time.

Sometimes I would reach into a crack and the fit was perfect. Other times the crack was too wide for my hand and there was no way to get a positive hold. Some of those times, by reaching far back, I would discover a hidden flake, the perfect place to pull from and propel myself just a little higher.

In the middle of the day, the third of five climbs...

It was the hardest climb we did. I couldn't stay in the crack. I kept falling off the rock. I slowly worked my way up because, well, that's how I am. (I don't think I've ever backed off something if Tim has already climbed it, now that I think about it). But as you can see in the picture above, when he told me to stop so he could take a picture, all I could do was put my head on my hand and kind of crumple. I was feeling exhausted and defeated. This summit had not come with the good feelings face climbing comes with. It took a lot out of me. It was not something I wanted a photographic memory of.

I did smile when I got to the top, but it was forced. 
What happened involuntarily was that my body started shaking and I actually cried. 
Cried! Because of a climb! Who does that?
I wasn't upset or scared. Simply drained of everything.
Everything but the tears and I guess they felt they needed to jump ship, too.


It wasn't the first time I'd cried this past week. It had been one of those weeks. 

For those who tell me how strong I am...not always. 
Not always. 

I went on to climb two more cracks after that (the two in the top picture in this post. The one MJ is on, which was my favorite, and the one to her left). 

Just like I kept climbing in other aspects of life. 

My body aches today, really aches. But it aches because I did something new. Got out of my comfort zone (really did), and came to appreciate a place I'd never been before. 

But all of life is like that, isn't it? It's all a place we've never been before. I think we get so comfortable at times, we forget that.

At the end of the day, I hadn't come to a conclusion about how I felt about this new kind of climbing. Two days later, I still haven't.
It was fun, but in a different way. It was uncomfortable, but how much of that was because it was so new to me?
It was seemingly impossible, but surprisingly not. 
Draining, but giving.

Lesson Learned: There are going to be times when life seems to be splitting from top to bottom and we can see no way to pull ourselves up. We may have to just jam our hands in and, using our own body weight, pull.
 It may also happen that if the crack is too wide, and you reach far back into one of those fissures, there will be something to cling to.
 You may have to feel for it, because you can't always see it.
And on occasion something beautiful may even grow from that crack.