Hi! I’ve been in Hueco since November 3 or 4 and nevermind the blog neglect, I do it every year. It’s been a good season so far, but 10 weeks in and I’m dreaming of Hawaii every night now. As Rayna and I walked around East Mnt yesterday to our different projects, I fantasized that we were paddling through the sea chasing the swell instead of huffing pads up the slabs chasing the shade. But the season has been good, I’ve done lots of boulder problems and will likely do more. I’ll feel kind of proud and kind of excited for a day or so, then all the sudden it won’t seem like enough, I’ll feel weird and jealous of other people’s progress, then I’ll send something else and the cycle repeats. I’ve just been rolling with the emotional turmoil, and watching musicals.
Soon I’ll head off for my kind of annual at this point retreat to Kauai, where my parents and my aunt and I engage with the island in our own personal ways (painting, surfing, staring) and recharge our spirits on top of this sacred volcanic hot spot. I should mention, my magnificent grandmother Lila passed away last month, on the first night of Hannukah. I had just arrived in Houston to look after her when it happened, and I spent that week doing the most adult things I’ve ever done in my life, cleaning her place, making phone calls to medical services and funeral homes, organizing the end of life domestic details. I don’t know what else to say about it, but it felt like the perfect opportunity for me to honor Lila and her pragmatic spirit. I did what needed doing, carried on, and that’s, as she would say. just what you do.
I’ve been a guide at Hueco this year, and I had no idea what a difference it would make in my experience in the most obvious and some surprising ways. Of course it’s wonderful to be able to go out on my terms, rather than always tagging along on other folks’ tours. Some of my backcountry projects have gotten more attention than previous seasons, and that’s been glorious. I love taking friends to their projects also, and spending my rest days leading tours, just watching and hanging out. It actually gives me a lot of energy to get out with a group of strangers or aquaintences and take them around all day. Moses cannot understand, and this is the profound difference between introverts and extroverts. I’m embracing it big time.
One odd thing that guiding has done is further bring into focus the powerful feelings I have about this place. One day in guide training Wanda gave us a flora/fauna tour, and the theme she laid out was, basically, Hueco Tanks contains within its boundaries everything a human being needs to survive and thrive. All the talk about the tribes and mail carriers and animals and soldiers and others who came through Hueco during desperate times made me consider my own contemporary situation, and how desperate and lost I was in my life the first time I came out here in November of 2009, and how I actually did find everything I needed. Hector, another ranger, somehow tricked me into taking out a small hiking tour on New Years Day, and I was rambling along to these poor people, pointing out Javalinas and talking about Silverleaf Nightshade. We passed by several climbing tours on the way, and I would wave or chat with whoever I knew as we passed. It was kind of a revelation, thinking of all the friends I have here, and every year we all follow our hearts to the desert and get something we need. I realize how prosaic that sounds, but I feel it strongly now. Then I started thinking about Hawaii, and how Kauaii, the first island to appear out of the sea from that hot spot, and the oldest volcano, is considered by some people to be a focal point of earthly energy, and a site of great healing. And you know, Hueco is nothing but a volcanic hot spot that got stymied midway by some sturdy-ish limestone. So I think it’s similar thing that’s going on.
this picture is by Sam Davis
I’m adding a Wagon Wheel link to my sidebar, you can book tours there, and I can guide them, if you want to go bouldering and listen to me rant sometime :=)
Good to be back. Love,