Saturday, November 20, 2010


Fifty-eight summits
over the last two years
have given me time to think
time to heal
time to reinvent myself


I want to be good.
A good person.
No longer just surviving
my heart has healed
I am now striving.

I want empathy
I want to see
I want understanding
When off-route on the mountain
following a guy who bumbles
even more than us
I want to guide him to safety
in spite of the discomfort
in spite of the inconvenience
in spite of my hiking partner's impatient orders
I want to follow me
the inner voice that knows
I want to make the right choice
the one that I would tell my parents about
the one that would make them proud
to have raised a humane being
I want to be good

I want it everywhere in my life
and a dose of eloquence wouldn't hurt
I have taken long steps to summit 58 peaks
Now I am aiming for good.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I will always be...
I know it.
I will always gather the odd yards at the end of a set
the odd minutes at the end of a workout
the last 300 feet to a mountaineering 3000
I will always be that person.
I know it.

I will always be...
Waking up and cuddling Sugs
with his ridiculous button nose
telling him what a great day it is
and how foolish he is to stay in bed
all day lazy bear

Always smiling to myself after leaving
The classroom
The climbing dinner
The people, my people
Always smiling
I will always be.
I know it.

And even if I'm not always
I will always be.
That's how it is.
I know it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Strangely enough I am looking forward to it. Particularly because of the gruesomeness of it. We will awaken at 1:30 AM and drive through the wee hours to reach the trailhead. Once there, we will be greeted by Cielo Vista Ranch representatives who will collect our $100 and guide us onto the ranch. Then we climb.

This will be #41 for me. And you might think they become "old hat" at this point. Au contraire! Each one is different, on each one I learn something. And most of all, on each one, my love of these mountains - that feeling of fit, belonging - is reborn.

My hair is braided. My pack is readied. I will sleep now for a few hours and then awaken to fresh night and a mountain of goodness ahead.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Thirty-Eight Years Young

You would think I had never dressed myself
for manual labor before

Go get the knobby gloves from your mother

You can't wear your jeans
She throws sweat pants down the stairs
I only wear them for gardening
they can get ripped

I said to get the knobby gloves
He sits waiting on the tractor
waiting lest I...
have forgotten how to drive?
don't know how to signal
for the one left turn in our journey?

I think it is this

Stay behind me
He ahead of me
gesticulates madly
indicating left, Left, LEFT already
all of you hordes of people driving
rural dirt Wisconsin roads

I come home to Wisconsin
38 years young.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Joshua Tree Speaks

There are boulders everywhere
and Joshua trees
evenly spaced
as if planted
as far as the eye can see

It comes to me here
I ache to climb them all
to start in the north and
work my way south
climbing touching learning every formation on my way

I start
Circling this ampitheater formation
round its perimeter rock by rock
hold by hold
I step lightly
place each foot deliberately
caress the rock's face
coaxing up handholds
placing my fingers gently
and transfer my weight
inching ever upward
leaving no trace

It comes to me here
My soul is a desert
free-ranging and true
open and arid
honest and sparse
a spurner of
the extra
the superfluous
the nonessential

My soul
is a free climber
to do it alone
the best
purest way
under my own steam
to be doing
to be moving
to be communing with rock
My soul is a desert.

School Bathrooms

I munched carrots and celery in the Smoking Bathroom
avoided the cafeteria and its social morass
through which I could never wade
instead I hid
went where it was safe
to slide from
132 to 89.4
in four short months

Between classes
I'd rush into "Staff - Women"
and unleash the real me
in my pretty purple skirt
shaking hips and giggling
composing poems to him
anticipating his laugh
his touch
tingling togetherness
We'd be reunited
in the confines of "Staff - Women"

My shoulders fall apart in this bathroom
all of me caves to the middle
under which there is no support
The crushing collapse takes me by surprise
I was a teacher but twenty seconds ago
What ho with this puddle?
A reminder
A memory
A mourning
of loss I thought I was getting over already
Steely determination and paper grade TP
contrast with the gentle watery smile
peering at me from the mirror
an acknowledgement
a trying to understand
a trying to love myself
to give myself time
to be patient
but gather myself quickly
in this five minute passing period
Sandpaper TP dabs at the eyes
fingers fly to the hair,
brush it from hot cheeks
center in a smile
and leave my retreat
The professional restored.

Those walls don't speak
They peel me.