Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There Was a Dawn

I wrote this yesterday for my dear friend Stephanie. Though I wrote it for her, there are others it makes me think of. Others who have fought or are fighting battles - some emotional, some physical, some in the military sense of the word - others who might just appreciate it or relate somehow, for none of us is immune. We all have a battle at some point or another.

There was a dawn that called me forth
And hurriedly I replied.
Duty called with urgent voice.
It wasn’t that there was no choice,
But opened were my eyes.

There was a morn that saw the steps
That led to a demise.
Yet the death of what we leave behind
Is often birth of another kind -
A blessing in disguise.

There was a noon that saw the sun
Roll back behind a cloud.
No view ahead was afforded by
The menacing and darkened sky
Yet fast I held my ground.

There was a day that watched me rise
To battle enemies that tried
To fight me off and take me down,
To crash to earth or at sea drown,
As I fought on borrowed time.

There was an eve that threw light upon
My drive. Never to be outdone
It mattered not how long it took,
Nor how severely my resolve shook,
Just that I had battled and had won.

There was a sunset that led me to grace
For at the battle’s end
I flew back home to the embrace
Of those who had the power to erase
The fear, and to my wounds would tend.

There was a night that gave me rest
With loved ones, family, friends.
I slept long and hard, dreaming deep
Of how the Lord my soul does keep -
My Defense until the end.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pushing Boundaries

The generous morning sun brings out the contours of the mountains 93,000,000 miles below, but it is a chilly morning. The wind blows. I forgot my long pants, but it doesn't matter. I won't be needing them. We have headed south, and it will soon be warm. 

There is nothing external to indicate that this day will be different than any others. Internally, however, I've decided to push boundaries, climb some things that are a little over my ability. This is not easy for me. I am not a risk-taker by nature. I am a firstborn. I like to play by the rules. Keep everybody happy, including myself. Keeping myself alive is also a plus.

This is my fourth climb of the day. I'd already led two, TRing one. This is another lead. It is a very easy start. About 1/3 of the way up, it gets a little scarier. By the time I reach the roof on the right in this photo, my fingers are sore (that's Shelf Road limestone for you), my body is tired from my three previous climbs, and the holds on this part of the route are virtually non-existent.

Funny, because other places I climb have small holds. Eleven Mile Canyon is my favorite, and I thrive on it. But not at Shelf. And the last 15 feet of this climb are the most difficult. I tether in at the base of the roof and rest for a while. My arms are so pumped I have veins popping out that I've never seen before. Resting helps me gather my wits, slow my breathing, and calm down a little, but it does nothing for the fact that as soon as I start up again, so does all that. I wonder if I'm going to be able to finish. 

Right at the top by the anchor I slip my arm into the crack. But there's nothing to hold onto in there, so I tentatively grab onto the hope that my arm isn't going to slip out, causing me to fall {screaming, I'm sure} for more feet than I want to think about. I've been scared on climbs before, but for some reason scared feels different on every climb. This isn't a "I'm too tired for this," scared or an "I want to quit" scared or a "I'm ready to get off" scared. This is a "I can't get my mind or my body to do what I need them to do in order to pull this off," scared. I've had times when it was one or the other. But both? Not that I can recall.

But my arm stays put. Miraculous. I anchor in, trying not to move too much and slip.

I get down and promptly take a nap while the other two in my group continue to climb. I am done for a while. Too much adrenaline. Though I do TR another route later in the afternoon.

Now, days later, all I can think about is going back and doing it again. Because I didn't nail it. And I don't like that.

Lesson Learned: Sometimes, when we doubt ourselves physically and mentally, the strength is there. We just have to go for it and watch it emerge, almost as if from a distance.

Then, once we're in and safe, it really is alright to take a little nap.  :-)

Thursday, November 1, 2012


She loves words.
They touch her when she uses them well, and when others do the same. 
Words have depth, and thus she responds to them deeply. Innately. Concretely.

She loves what words do.
How they make her feel, how available they are, how it feels like they belong to her.
They overtake her sometimes. Leave her speechless. Sneak up on her unawares and make her head twirl.
Words like penultimate, parsimonious, enigma.

She loves how they surround her,
consume her,
ignite her,
permeate her,
satiate her, please her.
Give her security, give her confidence, give her wings.

Not everyone notices words.
And that, she feels, is a very sad loss for them.
Words deserved to be noticed.
Words like languish, enveloping, champagne. 

The selection of music on her iPod is highly eclectic.
For it's not the genre, nor tempo or timbre that drives her tastes. It is words.
If a song tells a good story, she cannot resist.

It must have taken hold when she was a child
for by the time she was a young teen she had notebooks full.
Published for the first time in high school - poetry anthologies and letters to the editor of her small-town newspaper. Then, in college, a professor who ran a small publication ministry published a paper she wrote for class.
There have been a few other occasions in print. Just a few.
Though the occasions have thrilled her, "becoming a writer" was not something she ever sought.
She didn't need to become what she has always been.
Forum nor monetary recompense ever mattered.
Only that she treat words with the respect they deserve,
these 26
s y m b o l s
that, when united, form living, breathing melodies.
Words like symphony, breathe, starlit, sigh. 

But lately, she finds herself in uncharted territory. Many times lately, her mouth has failed her.
Why - when so often words like "sanctity" and "unfettered" and "harbinger" flow like fresh water from her brain and off her tongue without so much as a conscious thought - why the struggle lately? The words are almost there, but not quite.

They've gone into hiding.
She can see them, because they peek around the corner of her mind, yet she cannot capture them. She goes to them, tries desperately to pull the words forth from the recesses into which they have tucked themselves, but they are steadfast..

They've gone into hiding.
Not because they're afraid of being used, but because they feel so inadequate.

All she has to do is step into his presence and she finds herself a bit tongue tied.
Odd, since she's so comfortable around him.
When he sends her poetry, or recites it, or really, says just about anything, their inadequacy is obvious. How is there a response to such things of life?
When he asks her to tell her how she feels, how is she supposed to find words for all of that?
When she asks, "What should I wear?" and he says, "Eyes smile smarts compassion wit wonder understanding kindness strength faith fun passion intensity authenticity," is there anything to do but smile?

So no wonder.

No wonder the words just sit inside her, doing nothing.

For the first time in a very {very} long time, it is not the words she is using, but the words being used that delight her. It's not that she can't think of what to say. It's that she enjoys being quiet and hearing someone else use them well.
It's like being under water or high in the blue sky -
everything looks the same so how can she describe where she is?
But nothing feels the same so why can't she just say it already!?

There are few things which move her.
Music. Nature. Water.  Color.


Words move her even when they fail her.
For although they are a renewable resource,
sometimes there just aren't any.
And maybe those times mean that
she is being led by something intangible to something intangible. Something so full of meaning
there is no way to describe it.
And that is OK.

Sometimes silence says more than words.