It's always a emotional time of year for me; the fall. I think it's because I see it's transformation, so easily witnessed. The leaves change colors and drop, and it's a transition period between two dramatically different times. It's also a time of year that I feel the heaviness of loss and the immense changes that those sorts of times bring, too.
The maple leaves were orange, red and yellow and the light shining through them was almost too beautiful to explain. The air had a certain crispness and things just seemed to make sense. I laid in El Cap Meadow, and I felt like I was sleeping at the feet of a giant. It's funny that it seemed to feel like I was coming home.
That night was the 5oth anniversary of the ascent of the Salathe Wall, ironically, and we got to spend a nice dinner talking to Royal Robbins and his wife Liz (who grabbed a little piece of my heart) and Tom Frost, as well as Ken Yager, who runs the Yosemite Climber's Association, his wife, and Katie D. who runs the Ansel Adams gallery in the Valley. It was quite the evening, and it felt pretty unbelievable that everyone was gathered there together.
The next day, we woke up and had coffee on the porch of Curry Village while we watched the sun change positions behind the maple trees. And when the sun patches were finally settled on our feet, we went on a walk towards Half Dome, exchanging stories the whole way. It felt like a cinematic kind of day, everything was beautiful and dramatic and I felt like a part of something so much bigger. We got to sit with Royal and Tom as they did a book and photograph signing, which was so special. I think there is even some video footage of me talking to the two of them, shot by a film crew that came in.
After spending time in the village, we went over to a favorite tree that we call "The Muir Tree." As we were laying there among the roots, I started to feel sad. It's been five years since the accident, and that's a lot of time. Just as I started to really feel the heaviness of time, several mountain bluebirds flew down into the meadow. And then more showed up. I was shocked to see them, as Ron was telling us that he has never seen them around those parts of the Valley. We sat and watched them dive and twist, and I couldn't help but cry a couple tears. Like the bluebird that is permanently on my side, they were there. It wasn't anything I had thought to ask for on this day.
On the way back, I picked some fresh mint leaves, grabbed a couple maple leaves and then got in the car. Driving home, I was happy. We ate salmon and drank beer, cheering to the good life that my Uncle Todd had lived.
Even though I am in the place that I was so excited to get to, I feel off.
Maybe it's due to the fact that I'm running on 3 hours of sleep, two very, very large cups of coffee and a small sandwich and I've been up for 15 hours. Maybe it's due to the fact that I'm missing some people, and this time of year always feels a little different than the rest. Maybe it's due to the fact that here, the sun is shining and back home it was snowing. Or maybe it's due to the fact that I feel a little overwhelmed with the amount of Sumatra-related things going on in my life.
I waited for the bus for a long time.
And then, I waited more.
Tomorrow, we will spend the day in the city after a slow moving morning with the Redwoods. I'll look at the Golden Gate and know that my heart will rest for a little. And maybe tomorrow, I won't feel so off.
We go on. We move on. Collect experiences, bring them back to our people in forms of stories, photographs, scars. Sometimes I feel as if I've dreamed Sumatra. Our time there, in the grand scheme of things, was so temporary. But I feel as if now, that memory has been ingrained into the smile lines at the corners of my eyes, and etched into the lines of my palms.
And now, next week, we are nearing on it being one year since our team has worked on this project. One year, full of plans, many of which fell through, many of which we were able to see play out.
I'm not quite sure why I haven't felt like I have been able to write a quality post for awhile now. Maybe because, I feel so full of other things. I am full of hope, change, happiness; all of these have culminated into one big pool of unknowing. One day I will write again, when I can sort everything out and divide it up.
Right now, the only things I truly know are that I wake up happy and I go to sleep knowing that tomorrow is new.
I need to be reminded of things that are vast. I need to look up at the Redwoods. I need to feel the fog and the cold water of the Pacific. I need to be in Yosemite to be reminded that I am small and the world is big.
Autumn makes me honest. I find myself being able to communicate a little better.
Big life decisions are ahead. I am trying to direct my concentration on smaller things that seem more simple.
I'm so appreciative of people who let me be wild, and who tell me to follow my soul.
I think that I've gotten to be be really comfortable and good at being alone. When another person comes in the picture, it takes time to find the balance. Lucky for me, he is patient. I'm so appreciative.
This year, for the fifth year anniversary since my Uncle's death, I'll be in Yosemite. It seems like the right thing for me to do. I'm terribly excited to be in San Fransisco for a couple days. It is my favorite city (and I normally don't like cities).