Create & Integrate
Posts Tagged ‘Mammoth hot springs’
Saturday, July 23rd, 2011
The crisp desert air assaults my nostrils and eyes like a blast of air from a freezer the moment I peek my face out of my cozy, down sleeping bag. Frost crinkles on the orange synthetic surface of the bag, crackling and flaking off as I unzip and emerge. Just yesterday afternoon I wore a sundress as I made ham sandwiches in the parking lot of one of Mammoth’s sweet, little coffee shops; this morning the half-shaven hair on my scraped up, black and blue legs stands on goose bump ends and I shiver walking the short 50 feet to the hot tub.
Sinking into the 103-degree water, the cuts on my hands and ankles tingle painfully and I shiver again as my body adjusts to the heat. Five minutes later I watch the sun drift above the horizon through the steamy mist of the tub; it briefly washes out all the colors of the desert landscape, leaving it blurry like an erased pencil drawing. I feel like the landscape looks. Drained of energy from climbing, and hazy in spirit, wondering where I am going and what I am doing with my life. It’s coming together slowly, maybe… concrete answers seem so elusive. I laugh out loud. Mostly these days I think about climbing, food, boys… in that order. Then, fourth, chocolate, and finally, what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.
I’ve finally emerged from the vortex of the Valley. Now I tell myself, “Lizzy, you need to come up with a plan.” But do I really? Well, yes, I have a mortgage to pay, cats to feed, a garden to tend. Can I find success as a freelance writer? I’ve determined that the cubical life is definitely not for me. I’m really enjoying writing blog entries. “Time to get serious,” I tell myself, as I settle into a comfortable seated position, hands on my knees, back gently pressed against the concrete wall of the tub.
Watching the water ripple in front of me I focus on my breath, in and out. “Thinking,” I tell myself as my thoughts wander like a bunch of kids just out for recess. A breeze blowing steam across the water’s surface distracts me. “It’s like fast moving clouds,” I think, and then remind myself, “thinking…” My Buddhist teacher tells me if I say that word as thoughts arise that I’m reminding myself to not focus on those thoughts. “Thinking,” I tell myself again. My mind then quickly wanders from the crazy climbing scene in Yosemite to where I’m going next: the Happy Boulders, Red Rocks, Indian Creek… “Thinking…” I say to myself. Fifteen minutes later I’ve repeated, “thinking” a few dozen times and I have completely forgotten about my breath. “Have I succeeded in meditating at all?”
Smiling broadly to myself, to no one, I lean my head back against the cement, let my arms float aimlessly, and then stare straight up into the already cerulean sky. I think: “Yeah! We’re leaving for Red Rocks today. Maybe Toby (my British travel/climbing parnter) and I can climb Epinephrine first, then Cloud Tower and Levitation 29… Are we bouldering today in Bishop? Should we have omelets for breakfast? We have chocolate-chip muffins…”