Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What If

Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, I wondered what my life would be now if I'd decided to wait just a bit longer to leave DC and move to Wyoming. What if I'd put grad school off for one more year?

Maybe I would have dated that cutie pie named Derek. I met him at a post-kickball gathering at The Irish Times. I think we were both wearing our "umpire" red t-shirts that night. Yes, I think that is why we started talking. He was sweet. He lived in Maryland. He traveled to Baghdad frequently for work. He was a Republican. But he sure seemed nice. I met him a month before I moved.

Maybe I would have traveled to one more country before being land-locked. (Flying from Denver is SO. MUCH. MORE. EXPENSIVE. than traveling from the East Coast!) Maybe I would have finally gone to Turkey. Or Morocco.

Maybe I would have continued sinking further into my dysthymia depression. Somehow, I think that living alone in that city with this illness would have turned out much, much worse for me. I wonder how depressed I would have become. I wonder if I would have had someone there to tell me to get help. I think there are a couple of people who would have, if I gave them the opportunity. But it was so much easier to hide in the city. I am afraid I would have just hid from everyone and slowly faded away into something grey.


As it turns out, I met an incredibly genuine and honest man who has never traveled to Baghdad. A. doesn't just seem sweet, he is sweet. He is a Socialist. I met a man who taught me how to fish and who wakes me up with turkey calls. I met the right man. I met my companion for this life.

I have seen so much of the Rocky Mountain West in the past six years. It has done my soul good to be in the mountains regularly. I love being in the water; standing in a mountain stream is a true joy and seems to remind me of my connection to the Divine. It has been a pleasure to get to know the valleys and creeks and critters. To get to know the rhythms and patterns of the natural world. To know a place intimately, rather than just flirt with it for a few days. (Though flirting is fun and I will never turn down a trip!)

I have been gently led to my path of sanity, led back to my right mind.


I am so thankful I had the guts to leave DC in 2004.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


The week spent fly fishing was so, so wonderful. The area in which we fish every year is one of my most favorite places on this earth.

The trip was also quite therapeutic. I did not think I was overly stressed out, but judging by just how damn good I felt when we returned home, I must have been wound pretty tight. 

It was great to just hang out with A. Usually, our friend MG joins us, but was unable to make the trip this year. I felt so content just hanging out, fishing, cooking over a campfire, etc. We were able to enjoy each other and spend our days and evenings however we wanted. 

As usual, I fell even more in love with A.
AWWWWWW. I know. I will shut up now.
About that.

There was a morning that I positively wanted to maim A. Oh, yes. Or at least throw him down the damn mountain we "walked" along.

An unending stream of perfectly articulated variations on the "Come to Jesus" theme ran through my head as I bumbled my way across TWO hills and down a goddamn mountain. (I swear it was a MOUNTAIN.) No, no, this is not a usual state of affairs between A. and I. No, this ugly tirade fills my brain whenever A. wants to "walk" (i.e. hike, climb, FALL) to a fishing spot that is promised to be "just over this hill" (over the hill beyond the hill we are already standing on plus another hill we can't see yet).


HA HA HA HA.  I loooooove this. In river sandals. It is my favorite outdoor activity! 

(I admit that I am really an asshole about this. I don't say any of this out loud to A., and I think I did a better-than-average job of keeping my attitude in check.)

You guys. I wish I would have stopped to take a picture of the absurdity I went through to get to this particular stretch of river. Never mind that I caught a 15-inch cutthroat trout. (That was fun.)

I skied down the mountain. Yes. Skied. I am positive the decline was at 45 degrees or higher. It was INSANE. Well, for me it was. A. only grumbled a couple of times and that was usually in response to my melodramatic grunts from Extraordinary and Ridiculously Superhuman Feats of Mountain-side Gymnastics. 

Much of the mountain side was covered in dense vegetation, lots of aspens, pines, and other Sturdy Mountain Plants. I basically just let myself flail downward, sticking a foot in front of me and hands raised in front of my face to keep from getting whipped by all the plants. I was simply propelled by gravity. It was useless for me to really get any kind of footing. I was wearing my Chaco river sandals (kind of bendy, and I was hurting the hell out of my toes) and couldn't see the ground regardless. So, I just slid along the shrubbery and trees in front of me, grabbing hold of Sturdy Mountain Plants to stop my fall. 

I was being utterly ridiculous, but it worked. I made it down the MOUNTAIN.

I will let you imagine how fun that was. Oh, also: I had to keep up with A. who was Moving Ahead with Purpose. You know, way too damn fast for my bumbling idiot self.

Good times! 

This really was the least steep and vegetated section of the MOUNTAIN side in which to travel. Half of my whimpering may have included the phrase (with variation), " I cannot fucking believe we have to go BACK UP THIS later."

Yeah, I was a real treat to be around that morning. 

Don't get me wrong. I genuinely hated that half hour or so. But otherwise? It was heaven. 

And I am genuinely glad I was there with A. He was thoughtful enough to scout out a much less steep area upstream for us to climb back up at the end of the day. Maybe next time I can try not to be such a brat.