Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday, 29 February 2008 - Emersonian friend

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for an Emersonian friend.

A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I call a longtime friend and former colleague, Patrice, because I need a referral for a client whose marketing needs exceed the scope of my writing business. She cheerfully obliges, sharing a prized contact. I don't bother her often, just when I'm really desperate. Besides, I've been out of the arena for several years while she remains a player.

Since we haven't spoken in quite a while, we end up chatting for over an hour. She shares news about her new business while I confess my struggles trying to define my writing career. She relates how she overcame similar frustrations, suggesting I try this or think about that. Finally, she helps me define some next steps. Nothing earth shaking. Just things that helped her successfully transform her career.

Patrice is one of my Emersonian friends. Before her, I may be sincere. Before her, I may think aloud. In return, she is her quintessential self: nonjudgmental, empathetic, insightful, perceptive, encouraging.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday, 28 February 2008 - T's progress

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for T's progress.

Just because T has to wear the Elizabethan collar doesn't mean he can't join our climbing adventures. How could we leave our best buddy at home? Anyway, the small wound on his nose is healing nicely so I still hope to remove the collar this weekend.

On this springlike day, we load the truck with backpacks and gear and head to Red Rock Canyon. There, we hike the wide dirt trail to the familiar climbing area. This time, we decide to climb the harder routes in the top rope area.

T does very well. He's pretty much business as usual, exploring grassy areas and sniffing at will. S helps out when the collar catches on a rock or scrub oak branch. When we meet people along the trail, I explain T's surgery - just want them to know that T isn't hurt or dangerous. All the while, T strides confidently with his trademark swagger, very pleased to lead his "pack" to today's adventure.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday, 27 February 2007 - Another potential bird tenant

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for another potential bird tenant.

This afternoon, as T and I leave the house for our walk, a finch flies from the Christmas wreath that decorates the front door. He/she is not the first bird that has inspected the currently vacant nesting site. Several have shown interest during the past few weeks. I can't blame them. The wreath offers a prime location to build a nest and hatch eggs - just ask the finches that have done just that over the past five years.

I am, however, surprised by the early interest. Surely the birds know that it's still winter and the wet, sloppy Colorado spring snows lie ahead.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday, 26 February 2008 - Patience

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for patience.

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The hardest thing about T's ordeal is that he doesn't understand what happened to him - the tiny tumor on his nose, the Monday morning surgery to remove the tumor, the annoying Elizabethan collar that he must wear for several days. And, because we can't explain the situation to him in proper canine language, T is rightly frustrated and depressed.

So, we urge patience. You must be patient, T. The wound will soon heal. Before you know it, we'll embark on new climbing and hiking adventures.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday, 25 February 2008 - T's successful surgery

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for T's successful surgery.

First, the good news.

The ordeal is over. T is fine and recovering from surgery. He returned home thirsty, hungry and annoyed.

S and I are especially grateful to Dr. S and his staff for understanding T's needs. T literally shakes and shivers from nervousness whenever he visits the veg. We didn't think he could endure a long pre-op wait time. After S conveyed these concerns, Dr. S graciously agreed to do T's surgery first.

Now, the bad news.

Although he doesn't need medication, T has to wear the dreaded Elizabethan collar until the small wound on his nose heals completely (up to two weeks according to the Dr. S). This will definitely try my patience.

As T walks from room to room, he whacks and scrapes the transparent plastic "cone" against furniture, walls, door jambs, appliances ... you get the picture. I will do everything I can to expedite his healing. In any event, I pray that the collar will be ready to come off by the weekend. T may get used to it but I know that I won't.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday, 24 February 2008 - A hiking adventure

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a hiking adventure.

Well, S and I are very disappointed that the weather people got it so wrong last night.

Today is not warm and springlike with temperatures in the mid-50s. Rather, it's cool, overcast and windy. We had hoped to climb in Red Rock Canyon with friends and give T an extended outing before his Monday morning surgery. Plus, after sitting inside all day Saturday, S and I crave an outdoor workout (although we did boulder pretty hard for a couple of hours on Friday).

S suggests that we drive a short way up the pass. When we arrive at Waldo Canyon, we'll park near the trailhead. Then, we'll cross the highway, hike the Ute Trail and explore another local bouldering area that boasts granite rocks (T will like the steep, rugged terrain). Then, we'll recross the highway and hike the Waldo Canyon trail so T can expend the last of his energy.

I think it's a good plan. Not the climbing adventure we had hoped for. There's nothing wrong, however, with a local hiking adventure. Anyway, we don't have time to debate the issue. It's getting late. We have to get going if we want to hike during daylight hours.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday, 23 February 2008 - Grassroots Presidential politics

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for grassroots Presidential politics.

The Colorado Democratic Party currently uses the archaic caucus system to determine its preferred Presidential candidate. The caucus system, though initially less expensive to run than a primary, requires additional citizen participation on the County and State levels.

The County and State conventions are actually caucuses - just large scale ones. About 1,600 people will attend the County caucus while over 10,000 will attend the State caucus. At our February 5 precinct caucus (attended by 27 people), our neighbors elected S and I as two of the three Obama delegates to the County convention.

So, today, S and I spent nearly 11 hours sitting in a stuffy high school auditorium while the County Democratic Party completed its business: selecting delegates in support of state and national candidates to the State convention. We sat, listened and voted with one goal in mind: to support Barack Obama's candidacy and to ensure he got at least 65 percent of the votes in the Presidential preference poll.

The local Obama leaders worked hard to organize their County delegates: holding a special pre-convention information meeting last Tuesday (attended by over 500 people), calling delegates and alternates at least twice, sending information-rich email messages. Since our County earned 4 delegates to the National convention, our ultimate goal was to secure 3 spots for Senator Obama.

Well, we did our duty. Senator Obama received nearly 70 percent of the preference vote, earning 3 precious National delegate seats. Now the goal is to preserve those 3 National seats by sending a full Obama delegation to the State convention.

What a great feeling! For the first time in our lives, S and I see that our local votes and actions directly affect the selection of the Democratic Party's Presidential candidate. Of course, we hope the candidate is Barack Obama.

I am fired up ... ready to go!

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday, 22 February 2008 - Ongoing lesson

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for an ongoing lesson.

If you realize that you have enough,
You are truly rich.

~Lao-Tzu (translated by Stephen Mitchell)

You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.
~Eric Hoffer

This is my ongoing lesson: to make do with what I have (and, I have a lot). I simply tell myself, "enough already" when I'm tempted to buy something I want but don't really need. Two simple but magical words that work for me.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday, 21 February 2008 - T's good health

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for T's good health.

T, despite his age, remains a very healthy and active dog, demanding minimal veterinarian care. But, as he grows older, we take seriously any change to his physical state.

A few weeks ago, S and I noticed a small inflamed "bump" on his nose (looked like a new pimple). We couldn't discern its origin and decided to see if would heal on its own. Unfortunately, the bump did not recede.

So, this afternoon, S took T to the "veg" (our code name for "veterinarian" - a take-off on "vegetarian"). The veg said the bump is probably a small tumor, most likely benign.

S scheduled the surgery for Monday morning (we hope to climb on Friday and Saturday, giving T two more outings). I'm praying for a good result, that T will be back to normal in a few days.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 - Youthful enthusiasm

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for youthful enthusiasm.

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
~Henry David Thoreau

During yesterday's rock climbing adventure in Ute Valley Park, S and I worked on a very popular but difficult boulder problem.

Soon after we began the session, four young people approached us. One young man asked if he could join in. He told us that he had climbed the route about a year ago and wanted to try it again. We were more than happy to let him take a turn - gave us a chance to rest and watch someone else climb.

Then, one of the young women stepped up to examine the route. We urged her to try the moves she mapped out. And so, for a while, the four of us took our turns on the boulder.

A spectator might have wondered what was going on for here were S and I, the "old folk" baby boomers working with two young people on a boulder problem. That's one more thing I like about rock climbing - as long as everyone has similar skill and experience levels, age doesn't matter.

I want to mention that the young people were very polite and helpful and didn't seem to mind sharing the boulder with people old enough to be their parents. I guess that S and I have not yet outlived enthusiasm.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - One more day

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for one more day.

One day at a time.

That's how the man on the PBS documentary describes how he lives while he endures tri-weekly dialysis and prays for a kidney transplant. He says that after he receives the transplant, he will finally be able to plan his life beyond the current day. He is in his early 40s.

That's how an acquaintance who suffers from severe osteoarthritis says she lives. She just learned that her right shoulder joint has deteriorated further, matching her left. More shoulder and back surgery is inevitable. Still, she insists on doing as much as she can by herself. As long as she paces herself and rests frequently, she can still do light house and gardening chores, bake cookies for her grandchildren and run errands. She is 62 years old.

And now, that's how S's colleague, George, lives as the cancer advances, the pain intensifies and organ failure begins. We learn that he has less than two weeks to live. George calls S and tells him that he's nearing the end. S tells me that George doesn't sound badly - must be the morphine. S will visit him tomorrow, to say a final good-bye. Of course, I am saddened by the news. George is a true Renaissance man - engineer, musician, inventor, athlete, and all around good guy. He is only 68 years old.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday, 18 February 2008 - A temptation resisted

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a temptation resisted.

For Lent, I gave up eating dessert and chocolate (even though I lost my sweet tooth a few years ago, I still occasionally bake and indulge, especially when Mike visits). So, when our neighbor, Debbie, gives us a plateful of her famous chocolate chip cookies, it takes everything in my power to resist eating one delicious crumb. Of course, S assures me that it's okay to eat just one cookie. But, in my heart, I understand the power and significance of personal sacrifice and successfully resist temptation. Instead, I eat a really juicy tangerine.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday, 17 February 2008 - Confirmation

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for confirmation.

Yesterday's decision to rock climb was more than good - it was excellent. I admit this as T and I embark on our morning walk. Last night, while we slept, at least two inches of dry, dense powder, the kind that skiers love, fell on the valley.

Since it's Sunday, the neighborhood streets remain unplowed. No one has dared shovel the sidewalks - yet. Who wants to fight a losing battle? Minutes after you clear the pavement, the wind blows more snow onto the sidewalk, porch or driveway. S suggests that we wait until tomorrow to clear our property.

T and I are the only brave souls circling the park. As the head wind intensifies, T stops and looks back at me. I don't think he likes the wind's sting. I urge him to hurry along. I think we'll head for home after finishing one lap.

Snow continues to fall, swirling and whirling around us, dancing wildly on the North wind's cold and mighty breath.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday, 16 February 2008 - A good decision

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a good decision.

Do we or don't we go bouldering today?

It's cold outside - probably 40ish at best - not unbearable as long as the wind stays calm. Anyway, we'll wear layers and try to work out on west-facing boulders. Besides, the sun is shining brightly, the winter storm isn't due for several hours, and T is begging for another outing.

So, I guess the answer is "yes." Yes, we will go bouldering.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday, 15 February 2008 - A biscotti tradition

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a biscotti tradition.

I am not the best baker on our block - that special honor goes to my next-door neighbor, Debbie. But, I will admit that I make excellent biscotti. S and I love the popular "twice-baked" Italian biscuits, especially my home-baked creations. I now bake them during the holidays and when Mike, our Air Force Academy cadet, visits.

Biscotti from the Italian deli and local cafe are very hard - almost break your teeth hard - and rather grainy and rough textured. One year, based on my experience with ready-made varieties, I consider making biscotti as Christmas gifts for my sisters in California. Flavorful, sturdy confections that surely would not crumble en route - the perfect gift from my kitchen.

I test a popular recipe for pistachio and dried cranberry biscotti. The dough is very easy to make and handle, but the twice-baking steps are time consuming.

After the first batch cools, I try one. To my surprise, the biscotti is fragile with a dry, fine, crumbly texture - melt in my mouth delicious. This is not the rock hard, "please dip me in coffee" biscuits served at the local cafe. What a culinary revelation! I wonder how many people won't make biscotti because they don't like dry, hard biscuits.

Long story short, I send my sisters other gifts for Christmas and give biscotti to local friends and neighbors. And, joyfully, a new holiday baking tradition begins in our household.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday, 14 February 2008 - Heartful of love and poetry

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a heartful of love and poetry.

Fill my heart with Love,
that my every tear may become a star.

~Hazrat Inayat Khan

At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet. ~Plato

Nobody has ever measured, even poets, how much a heart can hold. ~Zelda Fitzgerald

Even in my darkest moments, I am startled to discover that my heart brims with love felt and love received. Is that why my tears fall so easily?

Poetry is a different matter.
A passion to be sure.
Born of darkness and suffering and loss.
Words surface in my imagination,
Like sea mammals rising to catch their breath,
Determined to see the light of day.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday, 13 February 2008 - Bird songs

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for bird songs.

What is that I hear?

Bird songs.

I can't believe my ears. While walking around the neighborhood and park for the past few months, I have neither heard nor seen a single songbird.

Yes, indeed. The avian community is out in force today, frolicking in the pine tree, dancing in the garden, singing wherever they are. Chirp, chirp chirp. What lovely music.

Just for the record, I make this declaration: the temperature is in the low 50s while the bluest sky and most glorious mountainscape frame the region. In short, today is picture postcard perfect. Definitely tinged with spring dreams.

S, T and I decide to join the "celebration" by climbing, bouldering and hiking at Ute Valley Park. There, S sets up the top rope on the overhung route that I've yet to climb successfully. (Although, I've completed the bottom and top problems separately, I have yet to link the two sections). I think that today is the day that I send it. After all, how can I miss on such a perfect afternoon?

Sadly, winter plans to return early Thursday morning. I hope the birds are ready for the next onslaught of bitter cold weather.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesday, 12 February 2008 - The "man with the long hair."

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the "man with the long hair."

As T and I round the northeast corner of the park for lap number two, we see the "man with the long hair" approaching. We've known him by sight for several years. Besides being a park regular, he is clearly the fastest and most efficient walker in the neighborhood. I admire his smooth footwork, easy arm swings and perfect posture. I just know that if he swung his hips more and adjusted his arm movements, he would be an excellent race walker.

Anyway, T and I are glad to see him. He always says hello as he passes us in the park or waves from across the street. Our conversations are always short - usually brief comments about the day's weather.

This morning, he remarks how lucky we are that the sun is shining. I smile, noting that the north wind is still quite cold. He nods in agreement. Then, before I can say another word, he's gone, already yards passed us, gliding down the sidewalk towards his chosen destination.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday, 11 February 2008 - Recyclers

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for recyclers.

I am disgusted but not surprised to learn that Americans recycle only 50% of their used aluminum cans. When T and I walk around the park, I am amazed at how many soft drink cans I "rescue" from the trash bins and culvert. A sad situation, indeed.

Since my backward thinking city does not have mandatory recycling, I guess that people believe that saving a few cans is not worth the effort. Not a very good excuse, in my opinion. Like newspapers, used cans are easy to store until the next recycling pickup. But, then again, most people's thinking runs counter to my beliefs that one person can make a difference, that every little bit helps.

Anyway, this morning, I was glad to see that the young couple up the street now recycles their aluminum cans and newspapers. For a long time, the only regular recyclers on our block were baby boomers: our two neighbors to the south and us.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday, 10 February 2008 - Weekend hat trick

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a weekend hat trick.

Sport is singularly able to give us peak experiences where we feel completely one with the world and transcend all conflicts as we finally become our own potential. ~George A. Sheehan

Tonight, S, T and I celebrate our weekend hat trick: hiking in the foothills on Friday, bouldering in Ute Valley Park on Saturday, climbing in Red Rock Canyon this afternoon. Not bad for a pair of baby boomer athletes and one very fit 11 year-old chocolate Lab.

I am tired and stiff from bouldering and climbing. Tomorrow will definitely be a rest day unless, of course, the weather is perfect for another outdoor adventure. In winter, we have to make the most of every climbing opportunity.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Saturday, 09 February 2008 - Night time work

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for night time work.

Night time is really the best time to work. All the ideas are there to be yours because everyone else is asleep. ~Catherine O'Hara

Recently, I find that I do most of my best writing at night - a peculiar admission from someone who claims to be a morning person. It's not that sunlit hours yield poorly written sentences and rambling paragraphs. I think it's because I've learned to "write" first drafts in my head while I go about my daily routine. Then, when evening falls, I replay my daytime musings and write down the most promising thoughts, ideas, plots, conversations and poems. Don't want to lose a single word, if I can help it.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday, 08 February 2008 - One tired dog

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for one tired dog.

Clear skies and bright sunshine beckon S, T and I outdoors for a hike in the foothills. Now, if only the winds would calm down for a few hours while we complete our trek.

We're lucky that the trailhead is only a half mile or so from the house - easy walking distance. After leaving the neighborhood, we hike westward and upward for a quarter of a mile to reach the National forest boundary and an array of trails.

T's enthusiasm skyrockets as soon he realizes that our outing is no ordinary walk around the park. He prefers the "real trail" to cement and asphalt walkways. Like an experienced mountain guide, he leads us up the muddy, snowpacked trail.

S and I aggressively attack each uphill segment - this hike is today's main workout. To our surprise, T is equally energized, literally pulling S up the steep, rocky grade while I follow close behind.

I think I know one chocolate Lab who will sleep very well tonight.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thursday, 07 February 2008 - Time to imagine

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for time to imagine.

Imagine yourself coming back
10 years from today
Through time,
to help you
you must now be.

~Jim Cohn

As I ponder Jim Cohn's quote, I'm having trouble envisioning my future. Mainly because my life is at a record low, and, through my tears and anxious moments, I can't imagine what things will be like ten years from now. So, I'm not sure what advice "future me" would offer "present me." Not a healthy situation for a visionary.

A friend who survived her season of tough times writes me. She says that a decade from now, as I look back on my life, I will be amazed at my journey - things I did, people I met, places I visited, pieces I wrote.

My regret, of course, is that I can't see this now. I can only imagine.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wednesday, 06 February 2008 - Warming trend

Dear God,

Today, I am thankful for a warming trend.

Where man sees but withered leaves,
God sees sweet flowers growing.

~Albert Laighton.

As T and I circle the park, the morning's unexpected warmth embraces us. Perhaps the media was wrong and that darn groundhog didn't really see his shadow last Saturday.

The sun's heat easily penetrates my cold weather garb, loosening and energizing my stiff muscles. To my surprise, I'm comfortable without wearing my hat and gloves. Our pace reflects the weather shift. While we usually walk briskly, I tell T that it's all right if we take it slowly today. T is delighted. He seizes the opportunity to sniff every appealing grass clump and tree trunk. I merely want to soak up the precious depression-killing rays and absorb an extra dose of vitamin D.

With high spirits and smiling faces, T and I head for home. My joy ends as we approach the house. I sigh and shake my head. While we bask in the day's glorious sunshine, my beloved garden still sleeps soundly and peacefully beneath a thick blanket of ice and snow.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tuesday, 05 February 2008 - Empowerment

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for empowerment.

For many years, I've rarely felt that our nation's leaders really care about me or my family. That's why I favor politicians who seek support via grassroots movements.

I believe that empowerment begins with personal participation in the political arena. I'm not talking about just donating money or wearing a campaign button, but making phone calls, attending debates and rallies, and talking to friends and neighbors about the candidates and issues I endorse.

I believe that if I don't do something to promote the change I seek, I relinquish my right to complain later. So, I welcome opportunities to:
  • Work at the election polls
  • Vote
  • Volunteer for my candidate of choice
  • Sign petitions
  • Write letters to politicians
  • Attend caucuses and conventions
  • Plant a candidate's sign in the front yard
  • Give money to candidates and causes
Tonight, given the close Presidential candidate race in the Democratic Party, my presence at the Colorado caucuses counts more than ever. S and I will be at the neighborhood elementary school to support Senator Obama.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, February 04, 2008

Monday, 04 February 2008 - Underdogs

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for underdogs.

Growing up, I watched the popular Saturday morning cartoon show, Underdog. At the time, I did not know the meaning behind the term. To me, it was just the canine hero's quirky name. Underdog.

In time, I learned that, in any competition, the underdog is the person or team not favored to win. I also discovered that Americans often cheer for the underdog even in the most hopeless situations.

And, after RT asked me to join his UCLA Texas Rangers Fan Club (this was the 1970s), I understood that a fan who continually supports a losing team must have a strong sense of humor. (Of course, I soon realized that the club's official status was merely the means by which RT could secure student funds for special member "events" - the club had nothing to do with the Texas Rangers or baseball.)

This morning, as I consider the underdogs I've supported in sports and politics, I smile broadly. Last night, the New York Giants - super duper underdogs - beat the acclaimed New England Patriots, 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII. Football doesn't get any better than this.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sunday, 03 February 2008 - Traditional Super Bowl Sunday

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a traditional Super Bowl Sunday.

The guys, S, M (our Air Force Academy cadet) and T, are watching the super-sized Super Bowl pre-game show - over four hours of hype and fluff. I can't justify all that TV time. So, after figuring out my cooking schedule and taking T for a walk, I retreat to my studio to read, check the Internet to see how Barack Obama is doing, do the Sunday crossword puzzle and write. I'll venture out for the kick-off and make sure the buffalo steaks, garlic smashed potatoes and broccoli are ready by half-time. I baked the dessert and focaccio earlier this afternoon so I need just about an hour to prepare dinner.

I don't plan to watch the game. For S and M's sake, I hope it's a good one - close score, well played, few penalties. I favor the New York Giants, mainly because of the Patriots' Spygate affair earlier in the season. If the team is that good, why do they need to cheat?

Well, it's a few minutes before kick-off. I offer this quote to honor the competition:

Life has meaning only in the struggles.
Triumph or defeat is in the hands of the Gods.

So let us celebrate the struggles.

~Swahili warrior song

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Saturday, 02 February 2008 - Sweet honey

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for sweet honey.

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt--marvellous error!--

that I had a beehive

here inside my heart.

And the golden bees

were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

~Antonio Machado, Times Alone (Translated by Robert Bly)

Imagine that. Golden bees turning my old failures into honey, changing the bitter into sweet. A miraculous transformation.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday, 01 February 2008 - More indoor climbing adventures

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for more indoor climbing adventures.

Because the weather isn't cooperating with our outdoor climbing plans, S and I decide to visit the rock climbing gym this evening for a hard workout. We're pleased that our climbing partner, Mark, will join us. The three of us last climbed together on New Year's Eve, so we welcome this impromptu reunion.

And, so, for nearly three hours, we take turns climbing and belaying. First, we warm up on the easiest climb on the vertical wall before attempting more challenging routes on the overhung wall. It's an exhausting and exhilarating session. During the final minutes, S and Mark attempt one more boulder problem while I happily do laps along the easier traverse on the far wall.

After Mark leaves, S and I watch a teenager climb along the roof of the "cave." We've seen him twice before, climbing with his friends. Tonight, he climbs alone.

We introduce ourselves. His name is Thomas. He's the founder and president of his high school's climbing club. We tell him how impressed we are with his climbing. I ask him for tips on climbing a roof (I've not yet tried this), and he explains the basic technique. Thomas is modest, polite and thoughtful. He obviously enjoys talking about climbing and his climbing exploits.

That's what I like best about the sport: the camaraderie among climbers regardless of age, physical size, experience and ability. To my surprise, even "celebrity" climbers stop to chat, offer advice and pet T when we visit Red Rock Canyon.

In my mind, shared experience and common challenges bring climbers together. The rock, after all, does not discriminate. The route may be easy for some and hard for others. Still, to reach the top successfully, each climber must make every move.

For this blessing, I am grateful.