Monday, January 21, 2019

once in a lifetime

Frank's beer of choice for San Diego Saturday afternoon. :)
Summer of 2013 while on an expedition in Greenland, I lost a friend and I lost a love, Annie Rooney and Andrew Barnes.
I spent the remainder of that year distracting myself with climbing and traveling.  I dove into the Bugaboos, the desert and journeyed to the far away Torres Valley in Southern Patagonia for the first time.  I put up first ascents, I ran a few triathlons and even managed to make it to the summit of Fitz Roy.  I thought if I exerted myself physically it would quite the chatter in the mind, the tears in my eyes and the heaviness in my heart.  It seemed to work.

After spreading Andrews ashes and giving a little summit dance on top Fitz Roy with Jens, Sam, Luke, Clay and Chad, we all made for a descent into town with plans to fill our bellies with beer and empanadas.

Chad took his last breath on that mountain, not far from the summit where we had all just been.

I returned home even more confused.  How and why did these incredible humans leave us so abruptly?  So young, capable and incredible.

I returned to Colorado but not for long.  I didn't feel settled.   I went on a road trip spring of 2014, calling it my Precious People Tour.  I visited friends and family in the west.  Some of the stops were to rock climb and visit friends in those special places, mostly single pitch shenanigans in Indian Creek and Joshua tree, Index and Skaha.  Primarily, I wanted to spend time with people that melted my heart---- past and present.  Good friends from climbing community, Andrew friends that were "family," and those friends that had nothing to do with climbing or perpetual movement.  It was special.  I cried (as I have a tendency to do).  Hugs were shared (asses were groped I am sure).  Laughs and memories illuminated campfires.  Andrew's ashes dusted deserts and pines and ocean and snowy summits.
Libby and I on a Lake Mead bike tour, Matt photo.

 I was single.  I was capable.  I thought I was sorting my heart, my desires, my intentions.  At the end of that road trip I got a call from Rocky Mountain National Park offering my dream job of a climbing ranger.  I had applied for 3 years.  Hell yes!
I took the job.  I met a man (on my trip, bathrooms of Indian Creek we joked).  I fell in love again.  My life was swelling with good things.

Things deflated.  Quickly.  Relationship.Legs.Work.Simple life.

Death and hardship affects us all differently.  It has lasting affects, usually learning through sadness results in actual learning and growth.  I ran into the mountains, I surrounded myself with people I loved.  Now, as I sit...I realize that instead of looking inward I distracted outwardly.  The title of my blog is :look up stand still breath: for god's sake.  I was trying to remind myself to slow down because I knew movement seemed to work but didn't actually allow things to sink.

Here we are now,  I have sliced through to deeper layer.  More work.  More hardship, without the ease of movement.  Its mind-boggling.  It is hard.  I know I will get there.  I know it takes time.

I write all this because five years have past.  I think about Andrew, Chad, Lara, Annie, Tim, Jason, Marc, Ryan, Hayden, Inge, Neils, Jonny, Micah, Bean, Kyle, Scott, Carlyle, David, Bernadette, Alina, Anna, Quinn...... (so many more).  Lives have ended.  Health has changed.  I am on the road again, in the same westward direction visiting many of some of the same folks.  Instead of climbing and running through the land, I am more of an observer.  Different lens, same motivations.  To see the world, to heal the heart, to give and receive love.  I know our learning and growth is slow, contingent upon experience and sometimes there is just a way to the world out of our control but how can I do better?  How can I listen, learn and grow without attachment or judgment?  Who was I before and what are my expectations of myself or others that this is so challenging? 

Maybe you are already there?

all tow, no hands.  Power assist for the steep uphills and speed checking Matt on the downhills.  




1 comment:

Alexander Randolph said...

Hey Quinn! I just heard your spot on the enormocast! I appreciate you honesty and vulnerability.

There was the comment about you looking for a welder. I learned through a hardware student at the School of Mines in Golden that they have a group of folks who are innovators in adaptive sport equipment. They are supposedly creating cool stuff that are helping people climb. I'm not sure who to talk to, but if you like I can try to follow up with some people I know affiliated with the school.

Also, if you still need team members for Rainier this June, I'm down.

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