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right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2006 - 08:03pm PT
thanks guy.
now go reshuffle those 'fridge magnets-
and have a great weekend!

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 23, 2006 - 11:55pm PT

Canyonlands, N Six Shooter:
(Day after Castleton N. Face)

I flit myself up the throat of a dusty chimney and cling to the underbelly of a desert headwall. Click, pop, shift, now stop: look around but hurry along or the whole show is gonna drop. While wagering addictive glances into the arid Utah void below my toe, I wiggle in a little loosely cradled stopper.

A game is balanced between tequila extruded sweat and slipping sandy hand jams. I see the haul line drop deeply beneath me and arc under like a kite string toward my blond peer at the belay. A rappel from the summit of this cardboard tower breaks us free from inspiration and commitment: A militant march through percolated soil and sun raped terrain drags us through sunset. Our team is poised for a seven hour drive into Colorado and sparse dreaming.
Nancy, my partner for Castleton (N. Face) and N. Six Shooter (Lightning Bolt Cracks)

Switching Gears, A Guiding Appointment:

I’ve awakened dogged and groggy and begun to claw at the road trip wreckage. I must organize our sandstone tarnished gear. I'll remold it into mountain guide paraphernalia, tightly bundled for jet plane and big wall summit. The task grows arduous; suddenly my attention is drawn up along wooden stairs to the porch. My partner stands with dark eyebrows and feline enthusiasm softly, she offers, "Would you like a cappuccino sir?” surely this is an angel; no, better, a simple pleasure. I must draw out from half sleep and grope and answer, “Oh yes. Please Nancy, coffee!" Straight away, by auto we blitz from the hills and drop in to Boulder, recoup more supplies. Another friend jeeps me to Stapleton dare-port, (land of wind-shear). Ya: baggage. Buckle up, we have liftoff. I drop into dreaming and then stir awake for some attention from Afro-Indonesian stewardess. I'm feted with strawberries, pineapple; then arrested once more by slumber. I can do this.

The jet's wheels plop down. Like bread from a toaster, my mind pops up. I relearn balance on steep steps exiting the planes gut. There on the musty tarmac I squint under the broad light and agrarian mist of California's San Joaquin valley. Fresno. I need ground transport, luggage.

I come alive and briskly dispatch baggage claims and repair to the transportation desk. Here I learn I've missed the single daily bus to Yosemite, by ten minutes. Plane taxied too long. I'll be a day late for a client I can't contact. Yup. Adventure: can't have it without turns, pitfalls, f*#k ups. I desire adventure, so I accept its trappings. A taxi driver lassoes me and we chase the buss, to no avail. This quandary rapidly leads me to honor my appointment by burning my latest final C-Note. I pay for a two hour cab ride up through pine trees into the den of granite monoliths. Yosemite: The Granite Chalice. I have maintained professional promptness and reliability, for tomorrow I will be there for my client when he arrives. I have been away for a couple years and it's a chance to play with good friends. My cup runneth over.

Stood Up:

Jubilantly flanked with two packs, an overnight bag, and a Polaroid camera, I jaunt straight from the cab into the Mountain Room Bar. They're I'll chat with a familiar bartendress and swallow my final two bucks. I come and go unpredictably these days, so when I crash into town, people can look me straight in the face without recognizing who I am, at least for a moment. It's the force of the un-expected. So Karine serves up a beer and follows the play. I enjoy my little trick. "Ya, Karine it's me." "0h! Roy, I didn't see it was you; but, wow, what are you doing here? This is $20 I owe you." I secretly grimace at fate, mashing the bill in my fist, and splash some beer down my arid throat. Two friends materialize, then Karine gets off her shift and we collect over beers at a nearby table. We break early and the couple spot me their cozy camper for the night. I gratefully swan dive into my first deep sleep in several days.

Upon awaking friends gather round outside of the vehicle. They query, "Where you been? What are you doing here?".”I'm just messin' around. You know: usual stuff". Easily, they understand my story of $100 cab rides and jet plane tickets does not portray stock climber fair. They know I must be smuggling or bootleg guiding, the latter being less risky and more predictable.

Breakfast is trailed by a sobering client stand up. Oh, a client no-show separates my $10 pocket from $200 days with brutal clarity. Perhaps I'm stricken with another case of... Adventure.

Reset Button:

Word has it that an old flame is tappin' her way up a big wall down valley; she is a prized protégé, so I settle into my running shoes, don a brim, and trot down to El Cap for a look see and a holler. A good run in familiar forestation can help to stabilize one's perspective. While I stomp the trail my lungs purge the remnants of a Colorado cold. I hock and spit it into the Sierra dust. A scuttle up and over talus disposes me to yelp and chat with my friends. "What are you doing here?", wafts down from above. They are hundreds of feet above on a wall, "It's good to see Roy!" With loud reports from my lung cannon I deliver a salvo of encouragement and bid farewell. I pause and look at the two of them; they are like flies on a great sheet of sticky paper. Giggling, I turn and dash down through sticks and stones to the valley floor.

Tim and Denise intercept and treat me to beer and barbecued fish for the evening. It's good; downstream from the park at Tim's cabin, lying here on a rollout bed outside on the back deck. I'm listening to crickets, looking at oak trees, smelling the river, and writing this story under a yellow porch light.

Dawn brings fresh San Franciscan coffee, a ride up into the valley, and five fresh 20's. Friends offer a welcome safety net as well as ample and fervent entertainment. Back in Camp 4 parking lot, I shoulder the Polaroid camera and harass buddies that toil with their Volkswagen engines. Jimi Hendrix tunes rip out of a tape deck, while I sun myself and write. Billy Russell receives mild electrical jolts from the arse end of his resplendently disheveled VW bus.
Billy, after getting jolted by faulty electrical diagnostics

Geek Towers, Freestone:

Dan and Sue are married now. I've always maintained he married well as she will lead him up the many routes on his wish list. It is true: little Sue is small at 5 ft. tall; but she talks about little matters and climbs like nobody's business. Three days away from the crack laced, arm bustin’ towers of the desert and my left forearm still holds a knot the size of an avocado pit. Sue and I scamper for an hour across gravelly ledges and up mossy, warped third class granite. We rope up next to the roar of Yosemite Falls and run vertically; trading leads, Sue and I ascend big, difficult crack split slabs. Sue punches it out with a near vertical shallow crack that has little protection and fewer holds. She shakes out an arm and declares, "This is bad ass!". I belay from below, observe and sing, "Wake up little Susie, wake up". We race through the sun up into the upper reaches of myth and shade of Free Stone. It is a long free climbed touted for arm wrenching finger, fist, and offwidth cracks. The route rears out the double overhung left side of Geek Towers.

Above me on overhanging, greasy, and insecure thin cracks, Sue stems and frets, “This is hard man stuff ". She is simply correct and livin' it on lead. Higher along, I stuff a black Lycra knee into a brilliant peach colored fat crack. I pause and gander beneath me; our turquoise trail line hangs free from my waist and floats in the breeze. Tucked into a corner 50 ft. below is 5 ft. of plutonium girl. 500 ft. below her lie the chalk laden vertical slabs we fried up for breakfast. Dangling from fists engorged by the granite crack I look down upon the slabs. Our lower route resembles a gigantic Sanskrit tablet inscribed with the language of chalky fingertip travel. Stabbing in a wild turkey sized protection device, I jump into layback and bellow a war cry. My shout is met by a faint echo: an Indian screamed when he put the arrow in Custer's crotch.

My partner wears an aqua halter top and sports knee length Lycra. She has long pony tailed hair the color of oiled coal. With the polished aplomb of a Yosemite veteran, little Sue stacks both feet together and wiggles on up the orange fat crack above my hanging stance. The climb is named Freestone after freestone peaches; the tower is named "geek" after the chiseled inscription on its spiked summit. The sun of crashes down upon us and the fall's crash aside even harder. Six rappels later we are geeks and loving it.
Dan & Sue, after Geek Towers

Television fuzz and sunrise slap me on the face; I passed out in front of the tube on Nancy's bed in her tiny company room. Nancy had lent me the pad for the night, on the condition that I didn't "Leave food or anything dead in there". She didn't want me dribbling sandwich crumbs or the like. Following yesterday's climb, I was so blasted, dehydrated, and fulfilled it could have been me that was left for dead.

So I get out and fumble down three flights of stairs, step in to cool pine air and across an open walkway into the next dorm. I'll swill coffee with Dan and Sue and they'll depart for their guiding jobs. Soon Karine will arrive to grab me up, drive me down and drag me up Waverly Wafer, so I can slug us up Butterballs in full sun. Karine stomps Waverly's overhung hands and fingery layback back with all the poise and strength her angular physique would promise. I follow, stemming the whole number as I feel I have maybe three good pulls left for my lead.

Twenty Two pulls and four number one's later, all my angularly poised strength has been vanquished in the fracas. I have on site flashed butterballs. "Whop-de-do ". Baked white granite. Yes. "Nice lead Roy". "Thanks Karine".

Down below in the Merced River, Karine reveals a swimming hole and we sunbathe on a large granite tabletop. We're surrounded by crashing, roaring Sierra snowmelt. Mesmerized by the dialogue of the falls, we linger and receive sunburns. Sluggishly, we pry on cotton clothing. We share an apple, swill tropical juice, grin widely. Karine starts her car and steers us up canyon toward the Ahwannee hotel. There we will swarm a haven: the umbrella dotted sun deck.

Ahwannee Sweet Shop:
Walking to the patio we pause at the bar and say hello to Brenda. She works the taps for us and stairs into me incredulously. She erupts with Puerto Rican flare, "Roy dude. Unbelievable! "

Karine and I seek an open Table outside and settle in. We ask Denise to bring water for Karine; I summon a Brenda-Colada. The cocktail soon arrives: icy cold, rum dark, and twice as volatile as the Latina who inspired its concoction. Joe materializes in a spare chair and pictures for us the wonderment of his San Tropez vacation. Nancy drops in on break and suggested I try Red Tail Ale; I do. I suggest she promise to periodically ignite my desire for a French-Italo vacation. Karine splits to an early shift in the bar and I depart to splash into a malt liquor brawl at the Village Deli.
Denise serving Karine and Me, after Butterballs.

Deli Wars:
You see, I'm supposed to meet Billy at the deli so we can prepare for a barbecue. It appears the only cue here will be for the bottle. It seems that two lad's ventured a tough nail-up on El Cap, supported with 70 cans of Old English malt liquor. They opted for three pitches and three rappels in three days: Billy was nice enough to meet them and their beers at the wall's base just as they touched down. Billy escorts the foolish caravan to the deli and I render assistance by drinking some of their stash.

The Foz peeps in and suggests 5:00PM is a little late to blast the upper two-thirds of the Rostrum. I grow a grin and agree with him. Next I switch from malt liquor to coffee and pound down a steak burrito while inhaling a spinach calzone.

With minimal rack in hand, Kevin and I cavalry from road down through forest toward the climb. Together we waddle out the walk on ledge to the base of Rostrum's finger crack crux. We climb with haste and zero hesitation. It is summer. We each carry at T-shirt as gym towel, to quench the sweat from our dolphin like exteriors. We take smooth draws from a fourth generation Dakota peace pipe and feed on two long leads a piece. Each pitch features overhanging finger, hand, fist, off width, and layback aerobics.

With little concern and less protection we surge to the summit, jump into our huaraches, and race for the car like little boys trying to cheat nightfall.
Kevin, my Rostrum partner, the following year.

Keep on rockin' in the free world.
-Neil Young

The story was written as a correspondence to Nancy, as it was happening, during a week in July of 1990. I had moved to Colorado from California and been away a bit more than a year.


Social climber
kennewick, wa
May 24, 2006 - 12:36pm PT
Thanks Tar. Great stuff. I felt myself sunning next to the merced, how I wish...

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 24, 2006 - 04:25pm PT
does any body have more climbing stories, huh?

jaybro- if you read this one last night and found difficulty wading through typos: my apology.

i had voice dictated it, word checked it, but failed to clean up a bunch of voice recognition errors. yata. yata.

idle threat: i'm going to start posting my sappo (not sapho) poetry if ya'll don't join in.

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
May 24, 2006 - 04:43pm PT
Patience young tarhopper.

You have built it...they will come...we just don't have fancy pants Voice Recognitioners yet.

Social climber
The West
May 24, 2006 - 09:54pm PT
I actually did read it and liked it a lot , typos?

Put me in a reverie of other times, but present time caught up with me and I haven't yet parsed a contribution.

Perhaps a major old hardisk harvesting is in order.

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 24, 2006 - 10:58pm PT
good jay:
glad to hear it; i'd be cryin' if ya stubbed yer toe, or worse, banged yer shins while strolling through my natty prose.

point taken.
always open to a clue over here.
nonetheless, i'm momentarily rampin' up some weepy waxin'...

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 25, 2006 - 12:50am PT
none of my unconventional poetry is bluntly climbing centric,
but it drops a bucket down the same well of passion.


The day the earth
Swallowed you
I shivered in the silent frost
Of alone-ness

A picture perfect armory
Of memories,
Girding my silence,
Brought stale air
From old gifts

There is lightness
In your absence.
A bright star burns
Beneath my skin,
Reminding me.


Big Wall climber
33° 45' N 117° 52' W
May 25, 2006 - 12:55am PT
here is a poem I wrote

A Place I Hide

There is a place I travel that no one else knows
Its a place where the sky always flows
A place where no road will ever dare to go
And the respect for the mountain will always grow
A place where my soul is allowed to roam free
And the true extent of life is plain to see

No one dares to visit this place of mine
It is far too difficult for most people to find
It is on my way here that I cleanse my soul
Or risk the mountain taking it as a toll
The only way for a path to be found
Is to break the law that governs me to the ground
Yet courage has a way of flowing through my fingertips
And the dangers have far been eclipsed
Because of my determination to find this place
Far outweigh the perils that I must face

One may attempt to find another way around
And surely they believe that my place has been found
Yet the few that dare to see the mountain from my side
May begin to see this place that I hide

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 25, 2006 - 01:06am PT
can i go?
um, er, what's the price of a ticket?
like, that was truly cool.

thanks for the words.

Big Wall climber
33° 45' N 117° 52' W
May 25, 2006 - 03:10am PT
sure dude, glad you enjoyed it

May 26, 2006 - 09:46am PT

The thought of an old friend, now gone, suddenly popped into my head this morning -- why, I'm not sure. I googled her name and came up with your story, The Water of Life. Thanks.

I heard Randi still had the BMW 2002 I had sold her years ago.

All the best,

Jeff Butterfield

Truckee, CA
May 26, 2006 - 09:56am PT

Thanks for sharing the well written stories about Bruce and the Valley crew members. and a pic of my (then or around then) wife Denise was a super bonus.



right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 26, 2006 - 11:46am PT
Hi Jeff, that BMW 2002 is parked out in our driveway.
Randi called it her "Fudgsickle" : we call it "Nellie".

I bought it from her parents; a bit of a memento you see.
Randi had a very strong engine put in it, with a burly clutch.
Lots of rust now, but I keep it going.
Come on up and let's take a spin in it!

Here Lisa and I are on our honeymoon in 2000, driving to Canada:

If you look to the right above, you can see the back side of the Grand Teton!

While we are talking about Randi:
She loved mountains and wheels.
Randi had a knack for putting people together.
This photo was taken by Karl Arndt, here in the Rockies.

For those of you who knew Randi, keep an eye out for my upcoming Dolomites Picture Thread.


right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 26, 2006 - 11:51am PT
Hi Peter,
Here's a shot of you and me in the Meadows, behind the YMS "Rat Room"
*not that there's anything wrong with it*

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 26, 2006 - 11:55am PT
OK Kideos,
Lotta thread drift here.

I'll whip up a short story shortly:
'Bout an ascent of Wunsch's Die-Hedral,
With my buddy Jeff Maxim Jugg-Monkeyin' behind me.
Jeff had never done ANY roped climbing...

Trad climber
the blighted lands of hatu
May 26, 2006 - 12:15pm PT
here is an article in a heavily edited version I tried to sell...the original is longer and goes into more details, like how guilty I felt and still feel for thinking I miss my ex more than my friend (love sik chump...), and how hard it is to just keep moving sometimes...
feel free to comment - feedback is the only way to get better at writing...

"Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation." - last words attributed to Buddha

I am standing in the lobby of a funeral home north of Denver, Colorado, looking at the first rope I have ever climbed on and wiping my eyes on the sleeve of the fanciest shirt I own. My friend was an organ donor and after his suicide there isn't even a coffin or body to look at, just the rope and some flyrods and other outdoor gear, and various photos. In all of them my friend Eric is smiling. It is not quite exactly how I remember him. I've been shaking hands and hugging crying strangers, repeating over and over again "yes, yes, me too...he was my friend..."and fleeing to lay down in the grass outside when it gets to be too much. It is not easy for anyone there, but somehow we all get through it and some of us head back to my house for a small wake.

Eric was the person that introduced me to climbing. He was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Colorado some thirteen years back, but it wasn't until after an ugly divorce 6 years ago I finally started climbing with him. He knew I needed something fun to do, so he dragged me out and set up a toprope at the Tropics up at Horsetooth Reservior. We created quite a scene when I refused to let go of the rock after topping out and he refused to take the last 6 inches of slack out of the rope, screaming back and forth for twenty minutes before I finally let go and dropped. Eric had some weird ideas about how to teach people to trust, that was certain. I never did get to ask him how he had learned that one, I wonder what in his past made him feel that was the way to teach people.

Later that same summer Eric took me to Vedauwoo, Wyoming, for a crazy afternoon of struggling up a nasty handcrack to break in my first rope. Testing my new shoes and undeveloped skills on a brutal left leaning fist crack that kept spitting us out onto the thin face, where we would leave little trails of blood as the knees bounced across the quartzite empregnated feldspar, Eric sat there and laughed and pulled me up my first 5.8 on top rope. I owned 3 quickdraws and 5 locking carbiners and now a new purple and yellow PMI 10.5 mm rope, and I was starting to think I was really a climber after all. I think I climbed real rock only once more with Eric after that, just one more top rope on the side of Aurther's Rock with him and a girlfriend. And then he just sort of stopped climbing, he was either too busy or not in the mood or just something, some reason why he was going to just sit there and watch television instead of go outside and play. In retrospect I think that might have been the beginning of the end, the beginning of a whole lot of nothing that started to occupy Eric's life as little by little he just sort of shut down inside.

Its the day after the service and I am rapidly losing my marbles. I think the shock has worn off and now the depression is setting in, and I am starting to think I could die today. I don't want to go though, not now. I went through my own little personal suicide phase during that divorce some years back, stood on that edge and stared the emptiness of life straight in the face and turned back, clawed my way out if the pain and loneliness and decided there is no way I am going like that. Today I am feeling like I absolutely just don't care any more, that I am tired and sad and, well, between losing my girlfriend, quitting my job, finally dealing with chronic depression, and then having my best friend shoot himself I really am not too worried if I live or die any more at this instant in time. Uncanny, the way each moment is so charged it literally shimmers when you don't know if you are going to see any of this ever again. The mundane becomes special - the curve of the fender on the car, the song on the radio - everything seems electric around me in this state I find myself today. I've decided to go free solo a long long route somewhere with lots of exposure, to make sure I can hang on and focus and just drive the reality of life out of my head and for a time have absolutely nothing to think of except the climb. I leave a note on my bed for my room mates, just in case I fall, stating I didn't jump. I know I won't jump, at least I think I won't, and I can't help but feel it is important that I leave that fact behind me as I grab my shoes and chalk bag.

I've been reading a lot about the concept of enlightenment lately, about how there is really no past and no future. There is just this moment, this instant in time, and that what it really takes to achieve happiness is the ability to focus on just this moment and nothing more. The secret to happiness is to not waste energy worrying about things that have already passed or things that may never be, but rather to focus all the love and joy one can raise in the heart, mind, and spirit and just enjoy the instant that existence really is. I think that might have been part of what I was looking for with the long free solo, the immidiacy of the situation and the potential for death were going to hopefully force me into the moment in a way that should keep me there long enough to work past some of the pain I was feeling after Eric's death.

I'm on my way out the door, feeling scared and weird and utterly alone, when the phone rings. It's my former girlfriend, and she convinces me to bring some gear and not go free soloing in the horrible mental place I am in. I know she is right - the time to try a free solo would be some day when I am full of the joy of life, not staring down death's ugly mug. I end up humping 50 lbs of rope and rack and water 2 miles up and down a horrible choss pile just to aid solo the front of some rock. By the end of the day I am smiling ear to ear, trying to slot a Black Diamond #1 Micronut into a tiny crack and ooze my weight onto it without it popping out. The rain has been threatening but has held off all day, and a raptor is circling a nest one cliff band over from where I am flailing around in aiders and a fifi hook. I'm sweating and alone and talking to myself and my dead friend, but I know that life will go on, because it simply has to. It will still be capable of being just as good as I can strive to make it be.

It is the Tuesday a week after the memorial service for Eric, and I am out exploring a local bouldering area that I have always wanted to visit and never found the time for. Bouldering in the Fort Collins area just isn't the same with all of Horsetooth Reservoir being closed - the only really accessable spots that everyone seems to congregate at are the Piano Keys and Duncan's Ridge. The Tropics are gone, you have to hike in to Rotary park, and the Land of the Overhangs is currently off limits. I don't know if you can get to the Scoop and the Sunshine Area or not, but the road is closed so any access would be a hike or a bike ride at this point. The area I am at is the easternmost portion of the Torture Chamber, an area developed by John Gill and company way back in the early days of bouldering. There are many people up near the parking lot, hanging all over the notorious torture chamber traverse problem, but I've hiked down the ridge to almost the bottom, past the Nemisis Tower, and am staring at one of the tastiest sandstone S cracks I have ever seen. It's a little higher than I am willing to go without a toprope, after a strenuous layback entrance the crack shoots up and right and just sort of disappears as the feet get sketchy, then there is a weird sloping not quite jug out to the right and one more high hold as the upper portion of the crack starts to kick you backwards a few degrees. Its really a beautiful problem, the moves are very fun and the balance a challenge. I'll come back with a friend and a rope and we will spend 2 hours working on it before we get it clean, and later discover it goes at 5.10c, but for today all I really want to do is run some nice laps on some low fun rock. Its been a rough week.

I work the rock wall up and back for twenty yards, taking the hard feet and the smaller holds to make it interesting, and am soon happily sweating in the sun. Its weird being alone, I can't help thinking about all the people I know and used to know and who I still talk to and who I wish were still around. It seems like when you get down to it, you might not have as many people around to climb with sometimes as you wish you had. I remind myself that I need to make it a point to meet more people that do the things I do, to have friends to share the world with you sort of have to make an effort sometimes to actually be a friend. Its sad, my friend Eric didn't seem to want to make that effort sometimes, and now that he is gone I have to push myself to do that very same thing. Yet here, fingers and toes on some sandstone and my back in the sun - all that seems to really matter is making my left foot stick for just one more second while I reach up and right for a hold that I think is there, around the corner I am working. I'm 2 feet off the ground, but it could be a hundred for all I care. I want to make this move, want to make it with elegance and power, want to make it stick so bad I can taste it in my mouth (In case you were wondering - it tastes like sandstone and lichen Smile ). I stretch and reach and pop off several times before I get the balance right. But I don't stop trying, keep getting on the rock three moves back and working out to the corner, and ten minutes later I have made it happen. My hand hurts and I've torn open a scab on my knuckle during a finger lock, and even though I am alone I can't stop smiling and talking to myself about how beautiful the day is turning out to be. I am in the moment again, and that is all that matters right now.

I guess, if I may be so bold as to try to paraphrase the great Buddha - Everything changes, just try your best.

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - May 26, 2006 - 01:16pm PT
i don't know about lit crit per se,
as i have very little formal education.

i enjoyed the thrust of your content.
Pagan you wrote:

*Uncanny, the way each moment is so charged it literally shimmers when you don't know if you are going to see any of this ever again. The mundane becomes special - the curve of the fender on the car, the song on the radio - everything seems electric around me in this state I find myself today.*

i once worked in theater; i say there is a still point in writing, works of art, and experiences.

there is a set up within a narrative, and a corresponding sweet spot.

in a dance performance, it might be that place where the troupe crystalizes the theme and for a fleeting moment, all the dancers achieve a levity, a unity within the choerographic expression. as in a number of ballerina in pirouette, all tutus up and spinning at once.

sufi dancers do this.

for a climber, it might literally be expressed as still point, or the dead point crest of a dyno. or that spot on a wall at 2/3 height, where you look up and see your budddy struggling away in perfect harmonious context.

in family, it might be achieved when the kids are out playing and your spouse is quietly reading a favorite book: it's a benefit of being a relaxed and focused observer and it is a sweetness for sure.

in your story, it was set up by the emotional intensity plummed by dispair, which can galvanize a sense for life's vital urgency.

Social climber
kennewick, wa
May 26, 2006 - 01:34pm PT
pagan, I am not too big on the critique thing. But I like the way you integrate your own feelings and bring things around to "in the moment". Thanks for sharing bro.
scuffy b

Chalet Neva-Care
May 26, 2006 - 02:18pm PT
Where Was I?
First, the obvious answer. I was in Joshua Tree, North Astrodome, Figures on a Landscape. That’s not the real answer, though, because that’s not the real question.
I don’t mean to ask, “WHERE was I” but rather Where was “I”, that is, the guy
I am used to encountering and talking to and being counseled by when I am on the
sharp end.
When we got to the dome, looked at the guide, at the rock, guide/rock/guide/rock,
figured out where exactly it was that we were going, the inevitable question arose:
“Well, Mr. Moyles, are you going to lead this thing?” Well, yeah, sure. Why didn’t
that perk me right up? OK, rack up. Followed my week-long tendency to take about
2.4 times what I could possibly use on the climb. Steve, are you there? Yeah, sure.
Are you sure? Yeah, I guess so.
Harness up. Chalk bag. Tie that water knot. Shoe up. There yet? Well, tie in then.
On belay? Climbing then. Calling all Steve. I guess he’ll show up in a few moves.
Looks hard. No it doesn’t, this is just the kind of thing you do. Yeah, I guess you’re
right. It wasn’t that bad. This next bit looks scary, though. No it doesn’t, just look at
that edge you’ll be standing on. Look, just stand up, see, that’s how it works. Yeah,
it looks just like something I know how to do. It even looks like something I’d
really like. If only I were here to enjoy it. It’s nice hearing the occasional “nice move”
from the ground, but I want to be hearing it from Here! Where are you, anyway?
So there I am, grinding along in this fatalistic mindset, intellectually filing away
sensations: Look over there, Steve, isn’t that pretty? Didn’t that move feel cool?
Yeah, I guess, whatever…
It helps out some when I get to a spot with an actual choice of moves. The obvious way
has a move that feels less than 100% secure in the hand, and though I know it would
usually be perfectly fine, I come back down to the stance and check out an alternative
to the side. It has smaller holds but is more of the rock-onto-solid-edge-stand-up type
which the climb has been so far. This way works out great for me. It’s really secure
and the “route finding” episode has stripped a layer of fuzz away, leaving me only
with about 3 spiritual sweaters between me and the fresh air. Hello? Not here yet.
I think he might be just around the corner, though. Well, just keep climbing, he might
show up. I make my way to the first anchor, the old one. From the ground: “Don’t
stop there, go to the next anchor.” OK, this next bit looks more, um, demanding. Do
you think you might want to Pay Attention now? All right, remember you have to
protect this traverse. Stuff that thing in there. That’s fine. Step on over here. Get more
stuff. Good. Uh-oh, it gets hard. Have to start yelling at myself. “Come on. Use that
foot. Wake up. Do it right. Will you just do it right? Come on, Steve. Climb this thing.” And suddenly, I was right there with me, where I should have been all along.
I got that good hold, and I was wide awake on the middle of a nice exposed face, stepping
to that stance, clipping the anchor bolts, as happy as if I had been climbing the whole
time instead of watching somebody else do it through a helmet cam. What a climb! I
wish I’d been here to enjoy it.
“Off Belay!”
“Belay Off. It sounds like you found religion up there.”
Jesus, I don’t need this crap.
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