Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Maple Saturday & a Brief Sunday Relief

Haggle, napping on the drive
Haggle is asleep in the back. Cat-like, she draws in her legs up to her belly, curling, somehow comfortably on the small bench-seat in the back of Mark's Eurovan. The vehicle rattles its way forward at 70mph – at times, violently. So much so, I shift side to side, not in an attempt to palliate my stiffening legs, but to thwart the journey my heart is now taking into my throat. Despite the jovially & constant conversation between Mark & I, I can tell he is tired. He has had a long day; he has climbed much harder then he is used to, much more then he is used to, we all have, & it shows. We are tired. Content. Glad to be going home, but I can't shake the desire to tell Mark to, turn around. Let's go back, camp for the night. Get some more pitches done in the mourning. But I hold my tongue, wanting also, the creature comfort of domesticated positive stimulus & riches: I want my bed. For the moment, Mark is stymied in his conversation & he stares on, the Driver's dead-stare curse; Haggle is fast sleeping in dreams. I look back at her & in her hypnoid, she is smiling. I laconically spy the passing scenery from the passenger's side. It moves slowly, like my thoughts. We haven't yet reached that point in a drive home where the picture of life materializes back into existence, where things once again become real, & the Dream fades slowly into memory. We are all still luridly locked w/in the somber jaws of euphoria that an exhausting day creates. A perfect day, a perfect canyon, remains jetting thru our blood like an addictive poison...
Maple Canyon

As we entered the Canyon, I stared out the window – Mark was saying something but it sounded as if a crooning voice echoing off cotton walls – looking at the cobbled-craggy-beauty. It never surprises me whenever I go to Maple how transfixed I get. I gazed & gazed. Something marvelous exists here, Something transcendental, & each time is as if the first time. This feels like home. Coming home. The last time I was here, it was the first climbing ‘trip’ I went on right out of rehab. Before that, nearly 12 years prior. I could feel myself smiling. It was a true facial gesture, the kind one can't help but hold back, one that states emphatically, ‘I’ve arrived!’ Parking the Eurovan, Haggle out of her slumber, Mark exited the vehicle, as did I, opening the sliding passenger door for her. The air smelled of camp fire, bacon, Climbers, crisp mourning weather w/ a promise of on coming warmth: a mixing boiling pot of ethereal madness that you quickly grow to love the more you get out. It becomes some what of a spiritual addiction. I stood next to the van simply taking it all in, but not on a conscious level, more of a primal one. One that exists somewhere deep w/in the crevasse of existence; a mystery. A puzzle. Something I’ve yet to figure out wholly, but something I am wholly apprised of, & welcoming of its sporadic arrival. It was chilly, for we had gotten an early start. 
Haggle & Lewis, brewing coffee
Desiring coffee, I pulled the Coleman stove out & set it up on the first table behind the restrooms adjacent to the main parking area. Haggle comforted herself on the table, dog & people watching, some climbers, others obviously not (both people & k9's). As the percolator did what it does, the good energy of the day made itself known. We stood around the table, drinking coffee, chatting about how earth shatteringly good it would be if we only had strips of bacon, snapped silly photos, & joked. A greater start to a day I cannot remember. & it would only get better. This I knew as I sat sipping my cup-of-Joe, watching the smiles on Mark & haggle’s facade grow & grow, as the temps warmed & warmed…

...Sitting here now, in my basement writing this, pondering back to Saturday, skipping to Sunday, meddling into Monday, Haggle upstairs asleep, exhausted from three days of climbing, I am hard pressed to describe perfectly that which I need to describe. I can feel it. I know it. I understand it. But the writer's gift fails me on this Tuesday night. Perhaps in-the-moment emotions fog that which I replay over & over in my mind, like watching a movie in a bright & direct sun-light: it's there, you can hear it, & even watch it to a degree, but the full effect is much lost...for now. 
Lewis & Haggle, getting ready for another climb
I consider Saturday as one of the greatest days I will remember. How quietly concerned I was to climb well; I made a decision to let go of the concern, to fall freely into myself & let whatever may come, come. 
Lewis - making the clip on Minister, 5.11b
We enjoyed multiple moderates – almost all of which I on-sighted. Something I've never done so much of in my entire climbing life. Haggle climbed more astonishingly then I have ever seen, & I believe she surprised herself – opening, for her & by her, a great expansive future. It seemed to revitalize something w/in her. What a great gift it was to bear witness to that. Mark, always a go-getter, & happy to just be out, climbed wonderfully as well. Not desirous to lead really, Mark top-roped every route we did. It was fantastic to watch him push push push (sometimes that is all we can do to stay sane in this world: to remember to push push push our own individual limits). He had an unexpected great time, & those are always the unsurpassed moments of our momentaneous lives. It is a day that will live eternally. Thru me & by me. & even if I can never make this day fully visual, or never be able to construct the picture of words that reel thru my mind onto the page, it is there. & always will be, for me...& anyone who asks.

Author's Note (a quick update): Embrace the unexpected. It will lead you to fathoms & depths unknown & will inform you of the potency of yourself to yourself. On Sunday, April 22, I red-pointed my 2nd route for Project 31: Wilderness, 5.12a/b, Isolation Wall, American Fork, Utah.
Haggle - leading World Class Tuna 5.10a

Mark, belaying Haggle on World Class Tuna

Lewis, leading World Class Tuna 5.10a

Mark, top-roping (Viva la top-rope!) Tuna Direct 5.9

Haggle, leading Tuna Direct 5.9

Haggle, leading Tuna Direct

Lewis, getting ready to do some belaying

Haggle, crash-padding it

Lewis, rapping up the day on Minister 5.11b

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