Metrics

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

So the truth of the matter is that I just need to be disciplined enough to create new habits.

I learned from the book, “The Genie Within” that you can’t UNLEARN old beliefs- you have to overpower them with new beliefs. Just like you can’t break a bad habit, you just need to replace it with a good habit.

I need to form some habits.

I listened to a podcast yesterday from Michael Hyatt about how to become a morning person. To be fair, I’ve spent most of my life as a morning person. It’s only been since I’ve been with Matt that this fact has changed. Coincidence? I think not!

But that’s okay, because Matt is freaking awesome. I just need to help him become a morning person so we can be morning people together.

A couple things I learned from this aforementioned podcast:

• It takes 6 weeks to form a new habit.

• There are lots of things you can do to help build this habit (I already knew all of these).

• Coffee is good for you.

• You should have an accountability partner. I’ve decided to use this public blog as mine. Not that anyone reads it. It’s just for me.

• The most successful people in this world, the people who are healthier, who live longer, are those who wake up and follow a morning routine. Late-night people (night owls?) tend to be more unhealthy, less productive, and die sooner. And are more depressed. And overweight.

Oh. My God. I’m becoming that thing.

IT’S TIME TO CHANGE!

So here’s the plan. There are basically 1.5 million new habits I want to form.

But I am intelligent enough to understand that though they would all be good for me, trying to do it all at the same time would be a ginormous mistake. Thus, we’ll take it just a few at a time. (Good thing these are just my ‘old habits’, right?!?!?! Should be like riding a bike. Here’s a pic of me riding a bike:)

IMG_1914

As I see it, here’s what I need to have happen:

• A morning routine that incorporates the things I think are most important.

(Meditation, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Gratitude, Writing, Nutrition)

• A bedtime routine that incorporates things that are important.

(Morning prep, wash my face, moisturize, brush teeth, gratitude, read)

• A nutritional diet. Seriously. Only eating what is good for me.

And that’s it!

But here’s what it really comes down to: WHY.

WHY do I want to do those things? Is it just to live longer? I’m  not sure that this is good enough motivation for someone with the kind of self-destructive tendencies I have.

I’ll have to leave that one and think on it some more. The WHY.

Well, I know the HOW. Now, let’s talk about metrics. Because if I can come up with what I want to have happen…the WHY behind these things, then that can be measured. Kind of.

>>>>THINKING<<<<<<<<

Good morning, sunshine! It’s now the next day. It took me some time, but I think I’ve decided I get to go ‘old school’ on this thing.

I’m talking about assessments! WOO HOO! Because I’m a teacher, of course.

I’m going to wrap this post and tell you all about it in the next one. Here’s a pretty picture:

A beautiful Monday sunrise in Gothic, Colorado in July.<br />
A beautiful Monday sunrise in Gothic, Colorado in July.
IMG_1354

Choice

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
J.K. Rowling

I can hardly believe that it’s been nearly a year since I last wrote. Yet such is life.

I’ve spent the last year struggling in so many ways, and loving my life in so many ways. I’ve accomplished some things, and failed at far more.

But the good news is, I’ve been learning from every experience.

I’ve discovered this insane need to change- I’ve developed some habits and mindsets that I just hate hate hate- but to date, nothing I have tried has created lasting change. Steve Chandler would be so pissed at that statement. Ha ha ha!

I have discovered many tools, etc. The thing is: I feel like every day is a transition. Every week I see change trying to happen in my life, but every week it’s still the same. It’s a very odd sensation: for someone like me, who, on a whim will set a goal and then do what I have to to achieve it.

This brings me to why I’m writing again. I want to make the change happen and keeping it to myself is kind of…not working.

So here’s where I’m at: I’m in the worst physical shape I’ve been in  since 2010. I don’t sleep enough, I don’t have a routine that’s working for me. And though  I have some pretty lofty physical goals set for myself, they don’t seem to be motivation enough.

I have no doubt that part of my issue is that I have been struggling with my ‘work life’. Or my ‘career’. This has been an issue for me over the last couple of years. I keep trying new things -brilliant things!- but they haven’t been the right things. Either they don’t sell, or I end up not wanting to do it, or I make excuses, or it doesn’t seem worthwhile or….or…or…

So I’ve explored where my issues might lie, discovered many potential solutions, and finally feel like I know what I WANT to do (ironically, it’s the same thing I said I wanted to do a year ago, but didn’t think would fly or be lucrative enough). But just thinking about it makes me soar. I have so many ideas, I really feel like I can contribute in a way I want, and I think I can make it pretty lucrative as well. I still have a lot of research to do, but I’m enthusiastic.

Why am I writing then?

Because I need measures. Here’s what I NEED to do:

  1. Establish and maintain a daily morning routine that helps me accomplish the tasks I want to do DAILY (meditation, exercise, writing, affirmations, motivation, etc.)
  2. Clean up my diet so that I can feel and be healthier. This means I will no longer be drinking my calories.
  3. Continue my exercise plan- with focus on being 100% confident in my physical strength and endurance for my upcoming bike trip.
  4. Ensure I get proper sleep every night.

Just those four things. Doesn’t seem too hard. Have a routine. Eat right. Exercise. Sleep.

See- I know what I need to do. Now I just have to do it.

Tomorrow I’ll think about how I’m going to measure the success of these things. Should I post measurements? Like weight, size, etc? Hmm….I’m going to think on it. Metrics, baby, metrics.

For now…enjoy some pictures of my trail adventures over the last year!

IMG_4350 IMG_4357 IMG_1648 IMG_1661 IMG_1216 IMG_1220 IMG_1229 IMG_1230 IMG_1260 IMG_1268 IMG_4892 IMG_1343 IMG_5003 kids delicate arch matt elisa hidden valley IMG_1352 IMG_1354 IMG_1360 IMG_5823 IMG_5845 IMG_5851 IMG_4868 IMG_4871 IMG_4531 IMG_4540 IMG_4551 IMG_4556 IMG_5938 IMG_5941 IMG_5944 IMG_5884

Matt at the viewpoint at Spring Creek

The 3-hour (NO! 4-Hour) Tour of the Abajo Mountains

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” 
― Lao Tzu

So I had ridden Robertson’s before- a couple years ago when I raced in Monticello. I have a pretty darn good memory for trails, distances, features, etc… but, hey, it had been awhile.

I knew the 15 or so miles would take us a little bit longer than I had planned. I was thinking 2 hours. But I hadn’t done Spring Creek- the trail we were going to climb up and connect to Robertson’s. We parked at our end-point, and rode a stretch of pavement to a Jeep road. The Jeep road climbed us up. And up. And up and up and up and up!

Did I mention we were on singlespeeds? Oh, and at a starting elevation of 8k+? Right away we were  both suffering. There was too little oxygen in the area, and too few gears on our bikes. We could pedal for a bit, then hike. Then pedal. Then hike. Hike a little more. Bike 50 yards. Hike. Hike. Hike. Hike. Hike. Hike. Hike.

The trail was not at all what I expected. The Jeep approach road was steep and way way longer. The singletrack was excellent. For awhile. It, too, got quite steep. And rocky. If I had been on my full-suspension geared bike, it would have been a whole other experience.

By the time we got to Robertson’s we had been out for a couple of hours. We were about 1/2 way. Choices were limited, though, and we talked about abandoning. But we- Matt and I- are adventurers! We pressed on!

Up, over the saddle, where we could look down onto the Needles District of Canyonlands. Down, down, through the pines, the scent of them filling me with inexpressible glee. Every now and then I would wait for Matt to catch up. He was pretty done with the ride early on, but he stayed with me.

I was happy and cheerful nearly the entire ride. I was even starting to think that I might do the Abajo Enduro. But about 3.45 hours into the ride we hit the last few climbs. Climb. Climb. Climb.

By the last 1/4 mile we both were done and hot and sunburned and exhausted. I was anxious about the kiddos, hanging out at Grandpa’s house, wanting to go swimming. I just wanted an icy cold beverage and a lay down.

We finished the ride quoting lyrics from “Hasa Diga Ebowai“. It was excellent. Matt is so much fun to be with. I couldn’t imagine a better companion for every type of journey.

[If you like satire, I recommend watching another selection from “The Book of Mormon: The Musical”

Matt riding through the trees
Matt riding through the trees

 

Matt at the viewpoint at Spring Creek
Matt at the viewpoint at Spring Creek

 

Matt walking his bike on a tricky water crossing.
Matt walking his bike on a tricky water crossing.

.]

IMG_4302

The Best Laid Plans…

“Single is no longer a lack of options – but a choice. A choice to refuse to let your life be defined by your relationship status but to live every day Happily and let your Ever After work itself out.” 
― Mandy HaleThe Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

We had to get out of the house. Matt is a good influence on me and said we needed to go ride these bikes before we did a photo shoot. So we rode from my house and cruised around the SS.

The plan for today was revolving around a photo shoot for the magazine- Matt doing the pictures and I writing the article. We picked me up a bike from the local shop (since mine was in the shop). So we did our little morning ride, then headed to the Lunch Loop for the shoot.

The kids were super good- riding their bikes around and playing together while we got the shots. Afterward we hung out in the parking lot and visited with friends, getting sound bites for the article and generally having a good time.

I considered it the first time I’ve been able to hang out with a bunch of friends since my divorce was final- so I partied a little too hard and Sarah ended up driving me home. It was pretty funny to me, actually!

By the way, Matt is awesome. I’ll be excited to be able to share with everyone when he has another photo on the cover of the Grand Valley Magazine. I’m so proud of him.

IMG_4302

 

 

 

IMG_3378

Crossroads

“I guess it’s going to have to hurt, I guess I’m going to have to cry, And let go of some things I’ve loved to get to the other side
I guess it’s going to break me down, Like fallin when you try to fly, 
Sad but sometimes moving on with the rest of your life starts with goodbye” 
― Carrie Underwood

“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!” 
― C. JoyBell C.

WARNING: LOTS OF PERSONAL STUFF! IF YOU are looking for a reason to love me, or hate me, or whatever- you’ll probably find it. If you would like to maintain a cautious indifference to me, you may not care to read on.

I cried the whole way home from court this morning. It was loss, 15 years in the making- a dark pit of sorrow. And yet, a relief- like when the clouds break and the sunlight dances into your eyes, sparkling. The storm always passes. This was today.

6.5 months ago I thought I was done with this blog. But what I discovered was that the experiences I had on the trails were now a part of me. Not just each one, separate from the others, but the entirety of that year. I long every day to feel my feet on the dirt. The trail is a part of me. The breath of the earth flows in my lungs, is metabolized into my being.

And I realized: yes, it had been an experiment, to see how I would change over the course of that year. But the truth is this, that the change was permanent. So while I was out running the other day, I made a decision: I may not do a trail every day now, but I still experience them year-round. Trails 365.

So here I embrace this little web-log again. And it feels like an old friend. I’ve missed writing, and the reflection that necessarily accompanies it. I longed for it, and I didn’t know how much until now. Today, it is healing me.

What is it about now? Well I’ll tell you…

But first- a reminding disclaimer:

If you have known me from my youth, you will see running through my experiences the same energy, enthusiasm, temperament,  and yes, even core standards, that I have always have. At my center, I am the same as ever.

“Take her or leave her, she will still be the same.” -Nickel Creek 

But I have seen my life circumstances drastically change in the last year. This is not a bad thing, by any means, though many of you may judge them to be so. Believe this only: I know my own mind, heart, and spirit, and I am more true to them now than ever before. I am outright blissful! Generally speaking.

I say some personal stuff in this here blog thang. I have never had a very opaque filter, and less so now.  If you don’t want to have a very intimate look at me- keep in mind I don’t write this stuff for you, but for my own personal growth and refinement- then please don’t read on. Forget this website, clear your browser history, and forget all about it.

No doubt some of you will be intrigued, read on, and become so offended that my Facebook friend list will be 200 fewer by the end of this post alone. I hope that’s not the case, but so be it. I cannot pretend any longer to be something I’m not.

So here’s the short list of things that have changed in the last year or so:

1. I have left the religion of my birth. No, I’m not “inactive”. If you have to label me, use the right title: “apostate“. I no longer believe in it- or any religion. If you want to, that’s awesome for you- I am grateful beyond words for how I was raised and the traditions that accompany the belief system, they have made me who I am. I have a deep appreciation for those who do believe! But I don’t have that testimony anymore and I can’t imagine it ever being rekindled in the future.

(if you would like to un-friend me, you’re welcome to do so now, then come back and read on if you like….no doubt you’ll find more stones to cast! Woo hoo!)

2. Dennis and I filed for divorce back in February. This was more than a month after I had officially asked him for a separation. Our divorce was finalized in court today (bet you were wondering why I picked today of all days to restart my writing, right?!?!) We are still companions in parenthood- the kids are really doing great- and friends. I don’t see this as the end of our relationship, just the beginning of a different one. He’s a good dad, friend, and a person. (Just not a good husband for me. Take of it what you will.)

3. The kids and I moved out of our house in GJ and are living in a cute little duplex in a manicured neighborhood right next to my eldest’s school. I am working three jobs (part-time at Roper Music, teaching music lessons, and doing business consulting/coaching/services). I feel like the real-life Dolly Levi. “If you have to live them hand-to-mouth, you better be ambidextrous!” It’s frequently 12-hour days, when you add in my kid-dedicated time, but I’m loving it.

4. Not long after our separation, I started hanging out a lot with Matt– the photographer I met last fall at one of the MAD Racing events. We are incredibly compatible and I am thrilled with how it is going. Now that the divorce is “official” I would like to “officially” call him what he is and has been for me over these past few very-challenging months: my best friend, boy friend, partner in many adventures, and my personal comedian.

5. I feel happier than I have been in a long time. Things are so so challenging right now, but I feel like I am starting to thrive like I haven’t in years. My kids are amazing, I’m doing everything I can to be a good mom and provider for them, and I’m doing things that I love with people that I like.

See, I told you it was a short list!

As for the format of this blog- it will still be trail-focused, with a little bit of life-considerations and insights just for kicks. It won’t be every day, just a chronicle of my trail experience, which I plan to have year-round!

♥ Elisa ♥

Now check out some pics of my trail adventures these last few months:

IMG_4083 IMG_4098 IMG_4103 IMG_4105 photo 1 (1) photo 3 (1) IMG_4107 IMG_4158 IMG_4159 IMG_4168 1654753_10155362128300171_76980551_n 11015263_10155362129930171_2046477112_n 11022931_10155362127515171_1512509795_n 11029751_10155362060005171_179046849_o

Credit: Matt Janson Photography11051139_10155362128100171_764356668_n IMG_3378 IMG_3386 IMG_3397 IMG_3402 IMG_3419 IMG_3435 IMG_3440 IMG_3442 IMG_3766 IMG_3789 IMG_3792 IMG_3800 IMG_3801 IMG_3803 IMG_3821 IMG_3825 IMG_3827 IMG_3828 IMG_3829 IMG_3831 IMG_3832 IMG_3833 IMG_3834 IMG_3835 IMG_3837

Here at the End of All Things

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Lord of the Rings

“The whole thing is quite hopeless, so it’s no good worrying about tomorrow. It probably won’t come.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Return of the King

IMG_4847

December 2013IMG_5488

January 2014IMG_5952

February 2014

IMG_6189 IMG_6875

March 2014IMG_7876

April 2014IMG_8531

May 2014IMG_2513

June 2014IMG_9034

July 2014

IMG_0216

August 2014photo 14

September 2014IMG_0948

October 2014IMG_2160

November 2014IMG_9318One year ago this experiment was just that: an idea, a concept. A challenge. The hypothesis being that I would sit where I am now, WHEN I am now, with an altered perception- be it of life, or family, or self- I wasn’t sure. I’m still not sure what the idea was, but it seemed like an opportunity to set a goal that seemed beyond myself. I’m certain that at the time it seemed like a game. I didn’t fully grasp what I was committing myself to.

When I’ve told people about this project they always ask the same thing: have you been able to do something every day? The answer is no. There’s about 1 day per month that for one reason or another I didn’t make it to the trail. But there have been many, many days when I have done two, or three, trail experiences. I am certain that if you were to count each EXPERIENCE on the trail, it exceeds 365 easily.

And to be fair, I used the term “trail” loosely. I didn’t determine a distance, time commitment, or method. I didn’t say just dirt, either. Several times I’ve included the paved Riverfront Trail. But the idea is the same. The trails connect us.

This idea of connections is the conclusion.

I have talked trails almost as much as I have experienced them, and this adds to my experience, don’t you think? Presenting to the Board of County Commissioners, telling them about the community that dedicates time and resources into trails, about why we fight for them, why we love them. It’s the connections.

I have met friends on the trail and have been embraced by the community that shares their lives through their experiences on the trail, connecting with people on a level that is personal. It’s not just part of who we are- it’s part of what we are. So many of us define ourselves by how we experience the outdoors.

But it’s more than connections to other people. The trail connects us to the outdoors, to wild places. To incredible challenges. To wilderness. To nature. To sights and sounds that are atypical to our modern lifestyles. They can connect us to work, to play, to our community.

There is no cookie-cutter type of trail user. I’ve met every type and every class and every gender and every segment of population- all on the trails. It’s a part of us.

The trail connects us to ourselves, if we are open and let it. I sometimes imagine that the dirt of Pet-e-kes recognizes me. It can sense my vibration, it is as familiar with me as I am with it. I have been on certain trails in every season of the year and every time of day.

There are places I’ve been, that I have found, that are as sacred to me as a temple. Would I have found these places if it weren’t for this experiment? I doubt it.

My children have grown over the year as well. They now know their favorite trails, their favorite places. They identify themselves, connect themselves to their very core, to their experiences with me on the trail. This was particularly evident with Trinity on Mt. Garfield the other day. She insisted on making the summit. She committed to it and wouldn’t stop until she found that place, reached that height. She, more than the others, is a changed person.

I don’t know if anyone reads this. I have never tried to care. I’ve done this with a pure heart of selfishness. But now I look back and I hope that if there is no other outcome to this project it is this: that others may be inspired to find themselves on the trail. Find those places where you’ve never been but feel like home. Know that even sick or weary,  busy or traveling or whatever- you can find a trail.

We are not limited by anything beyond our own desires. I recognize that now so profoundly. These trails have pushed me to the brink of terror, the horizon of mental collapse, and in the end to the deeper acceptance that no matter what the louder voice in my head says, I am strong enough for the challenge. There is no need for fear, other than to embrace it as an experience of this life.

Am I a different person today than I was a year ago? Yes, but not absolutely. I have certainly changed in many ways, and yet I feel that it has not be a divergence, but an arrival, closer to the definition of my true self. I know who I am. And looking back at this website I see what I have done. I may even be on the way to acknowledging my own uniqueness. I am certainly on my way to divinity.

I found myself on the trail. I hope you will find me there, too.

“TrailsGo Ever On

Trails go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Trails go ever ever on,
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen,
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green,
And trees and hills they long have known.

The Trail goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Trail has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Trail goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Trail has gone.
Let others follow, if they can!
Let them a journey new begin.
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.” 


― J.R.R. TolkienThe Lord of the Rings (“Trail” substituted for “road”)

In the Desert there are more Stars

“I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Return of the King

“Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Return of the King

My daughter and I drove out on the north desert, taking 25 road, until the city lights sparkled behind us. We drove up a hill and parked. I enjoyed some apple cider and Trinity drank some eggnog. We counted the shooting stars until our bodies were numb with the cold.

IMG_2246

Flip flops in the snow, unabashed selfies

“The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

“Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on on the story.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

Yes, Lord of the Rings is probably my favorite book. Here I am upon the end of a year-long journey. I have been reluctant each day to experience the trail, because I know that the time is too near, too precious, and this will end.

And yet it won’t, will it? The trails are in me, every experience has shaped me, and I am intimate with them now.

For several weeks I have longed for as deeply-moving a concept as this trail adventure. Something to change me in ways I need over the next year. Finally, inspiration struck- while delving into a period of meditation. Now, I feel less despair at the end, because it is also a new beginning.

This morning I was fraught with indecision- the nemesis of my adult life. I had originally planned to see the red rocks of Moab today. But the idea of two trips to Utah in one week, the financial burdens required of the second, and the illness of my husband the night before, all collaborated to keep me in the Grand Valley today. Also, the hope for a ride with someone I esteem as well.

I couldn’t sleep, as I watched the clouds blush in the sunrise outside of my window. I crept downstairs and prepared the morning for my family, then snuck out of the house, into the Jeep, and up to the trail. Music and Mt. Dew my companions.

IMG_2233 IMG_2251 IMG_2252 IMG_2253 IMG_2254

I headed home for a quick change and to pack up my bike. I met Dave and Kurt and we drove out to Kokopelli, where we joined with Noah and Sparky. It was going to be a hard ride and I regretted my frozen summit experience last night, and the 4 hours of sleep I had been permitted.

But there’s a reason why we call it “playing bikes”. We rode Rustler’s, Mary’s, and Horsethief. Better trail companions are hard to find! Noah and Sparky were willing to demonstrate and coach, and all were patient with my preference to walk an obstacle or two (or 6). My bike is in bad way right now and I didn’t trust it.

This turned out to be an astute choice, as the front tire went flat immediately after my heart-pounding, flying descent down Mary’s. We met more friends in the parking lot, and had a nice visit until I was too cold to hold still another moment.

The sun had been out most of the time, with only a few flights of snow that blew through. The lighting was amazing, but my photo opportunities were secondary to embracing the opportunity to ride with this crew. IMG_2275 IMG_2276 IMG_2279 IMG_2280 IMG_2281 IMG_2282

IMG_2177

Good Choice, Bad Decision

“No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence–that which makes its truth, its meaning–its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream–alone.” 
― Joseph ConradHeart of Darkness

Raise me up in the pre-dawn light- I tremble at the day before me- so much asked of, so much taken. But I go- eastward, to the call of duty- and friendship to reacquaint. Thrills of expectation for what is to come.

IMG_2174 IMG_2177 IMG_2178The daylight paints vistas, striking to the heart of this woman- tasks at hand, though fingers cold, warmth of playful banter warm me. Then rush, demand- a skilled juggler am I. They come and I smile. I know what awaits them for I have seen it, felt it- at least in part. IMG_2182

With travail goes time- crashing past like countless waves- they ride and turn, flying flying like so many birds, discovering how fast their wings can take them. Course and course, the lifeblood, a mimic of the circulation, in the vineyard. Time pulsing on.

Voices and camaraderie. This heart filled with pride. I’m getting to know them now- my conversion nearly complete. Fear has been abandoned, and friendships bonded. Gratitude inexpressible. IMG_2187 IMG_2188 IMG_2196 IMG_2197

More (and far better) pictures here: Matt Janson Photography

Drinks, dinner, awards, we laugh and cheer- then decision is made, to traverse to the summit, feeling nearby, we seek to partake.

My daughter, my companion- we climb- wild hearts defending us from the cold. Climbing above the populous- a late start, with sunset wreaking havoc on the storm clouds surrounding, enclosing us in. The pressure of darkness is the weight I carry, far greater than the pack of supplies strapped to my shoulders. IMG_2198 IMG_2199 IMG_2201 IMG_2202 IMG_2205 IMG_2210 IMG_2230

My girl, my pride- she does not falter, though strenuous the travail. Though I warn the lengthening of the hours, she demands the satisfaction of the summit.

Clouds turn to darkness, and darkness joins with snow. We scramble, hands and feet grasping for purchase to lift us up, up- the work now mingled with worry- as only a mother who is risking her child can feel.

IMG_2212 IMG_2228 IMG_2229

But perhaps my eldest has a spark in her, a reflection perhaps, of me. She does not falter. She does not fear. She is driven for the summit, and will only turn back once it is reached. The power of her spirit astounds me- her creator, nurturer, mother, and friend.

We reach the goal and retreat through the storm, the trail obscured now in the blanket of white. She laughs at me, my dark tresses endowed now with pure white.

IMG_2224 IMG_2225 IMG_2227

Though our eyes still seek the trail before us, darkness threatens in earnest now- and worry abounds my heart. But my brave girl never falters- “Have hope” she cries. Hope has never been my companion. Work is my friend- I trust my skill for endurance. I trust my memory to know the way.

Soon, light is required for safe descending. Snow remains behind us, and the lower trail has been moistened- slicking the rocks and tacky the mud. The light only projecting from my phone, we carefully clamber in tandem. Until the device battery is exhausted. We scramble by the light of the stars, and the last glow of the day.

Of what do we speak? I, the storyteller, recount for her the story of her own birth, that of her brothers, and of the times I have screamed out in pain (a mere trio). Her clever and concerned responses just deepen my affection for this girl. Can one burst from pride?

Hours of careful purchase on rock and dirt, we finally achieve the trailhead. Overjoyed, we drive for our now-typical post-trail treat: hot cocoas and lots of hugs.

 

 

IMG_2168

Can’t Help But Smile

“The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet it is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: Small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

I’ve been smiling a lot this week. Maybe it’s a more hopeful, positive out look that I’ve developed. Maybe it’s being engaged with a new job, a new role, feeling like I can make a difference. Maybe it’s trail project things that I’ve been working on and the pieces are starting to come together…. maybe it’s being able to spend time with new friends and old ones, too.

Dave and I haven’t seen much of each other the last few months. It’s been pretty exclusive to meetings about Epic Rides or the GVTA. Today I insisted that if it was just the two of us negotiating, couldn’t we do it whilst partaking of riding bicycles?

So we took turns sharing life updates and talking about the Grand, and what my role might be this year. But mostly, we played bikes. I crashed a little (I’m going to blame it on my rear shock being low), and hurt some parts of me, but nothing too serious. Totally worth being out in the sunshine, riding with my colleague, adviser, and friend. IMG_2163 IMG_2164

Dave’s socks.IMG_2167

What? Me cleaning the ramp thing? Oh yeah. IMG_2168