March 29, 2012

Learning from the Past: Opportunity for Reflection

Today I stumbled upon this blog post from 2006, when I was only in my 2nd semester of vet school. I was miserable, and yet I stuck it out for a couple more years. And, tragically, there wasn't any gain for all that pain. Quite the opposite effect occurred, actually. I always said I wouldn't do that to myself again; that if I ever had a nagging dreadful feeling about an aspect of my life again, I would move on. Stick-to-it-iveness is not necessarily the smartest way to handle a situation--in fact it can be dumb.

These two quotes also guide me, as I process my current life:

I am trying to make non-impulsive but somewhat scary decisions to follow my passions. My eyes are wide and my ears are pricked for any and all hints that I'm heading in the right direction. So, remember the cottontail and the hares I saw in Bishop?

I don't think I've posted about this before, but the rabbit seems to be a totem for me. My "power animal" if you will. I grew up with rabbits and understand their calmness and patience, their friskiness, their alarm, and curiosity. As far as what I could learn from rabbits, I have always identified most with the need for patience. When I saw the hares and cottontails bounding away in Bishop, I was reminded to look up more about what 'medicine'/lessons the rabbit has to offer. This time, a note I wrote in my medicine cards book a while back struck the largest chord with me:

"Rabbits are guides into the shadow world where all of our personal fears lie. When rabbit appears it is time to examine those deep reflexive fears that hold you back from growing. Do you keep dashing for the safety of your old patterns every time something new or challengin presents itself? If so the rabbit asks you to face your fears with compassion for yourself. Accept that it is part of human nature to feel fear at times but also to believe that our fears need not paralyze our growth and movement."

While I do not feel paralyzed, or like I'm running to safety of old patterns, I do recognize that I might be stifling my own growth in some ways by remaining a Never Quitter.

My altar from this summer, the rabbit central.

One of the few things I salvaged from when my house burned down--of the entire Medicine Card animal deck, this is all that was left.

I still have some time to come to a conclusion.

March 26, 2012

Crafting Lions

It's okay that we came home from Bishop early: I got a lot done. First, I convinced my friend Colleen to go scavenge for glass (for pendants) with me in an abandoned fort nearby. She was freaked out, but a good sport about it. I scored. I found some pieces large enough to accommodate the set of coasters that I've started making.

Then we went to her house and crafted for a while. She made lavender salts and sugars, and sewed a little kittycat for her baby-to-be (but it has to be redone, dang it), and I made little lions out of felt, velvet, and crocheted doilies for Mira & Joe's baby-to-be.

The finished product. Rawr/mew.

Here they are at Mira's with the mustachioed bunny she made for her baby.

Last day in Bishop

We ended up leaving Bishop a few days early for several reasons. )o: But before we left, we went on another excursion to search for petroglyphs, and 1 of the 2 places we searched did not disappoint. At the first site, we experienced a pretty intense dust storm!

I can never tell if these things are alive or not, scorched and twisted as they are.

Rodent pellets/bathroom, with a lovely view.

zig zag

Storm in the distance

Here comes the dust storm


Low pressure cell (I don't really know what I'm talking about, I'm just throwing out some meteorological terms).

Driving: now you see it (dust storm oncoming)

Driving: now you don't (white out in a dust storm!)


Hominy holes.

Getting sun-baked.

Cottontail! See it?

Zoomed in


Stopping for some "Really Good Jerky"

God bless.

Outside Mojave. I've never seen so many windmills!

Train in the mountain like a toy train set.

And just like that *snaps*, the landscape was green again. Crazy.

March 21, 2012


We woke up yesterday morning here:

"The Pit" is the campground that we always stay at when we come to Bishop. Ben and I have been here twice before: in 2001 with Jacob Chambers ("Flex"), and in 2003 with Phillip Sauerbeck. It's the first time we haven't had friends along, which feels grown up, but also less fun. Waking up in the campground was very familiar but strange too. The 'scene' has changed so much: back in the day, it was mostly young ripped dudes and some of them had dogs or girlfriends, an the occasional old ripped dude. These days the gender balance is pretty much equal. And with gender balance means that not only are there at least 400% more women, but also children. Also old ripped ladies. The dogs are still there, the young ripped dudes are still there, but...this is like a full-on family outing these days. I wonder how much of it is the sport maturing, and how much of it is the young ripped dudes of yesteryear settling into family life and bringing families along. Anyway, it's a different feel, for sure. Today, when we were at the Happy Boulders, I was struck again with a sense of the same feeling. It was strange to see little babies and toddlers with their beach hats and beach pails & shovels under the boulders, digging in the sand. The same feeling I used to get with dogs being in the way, I can imagine that I might feel toward kids being in the way if I were bouldering for any length of time. There was an older couple in their late 50s/early 6os cranking, and while we had Chicago Ed, I never knew his female counterpart. It was really encouraging to see that if I take care of myself I can still come out and do this sort of thing for a very long time to come.

Yesterday, we went in search of the petroglyphs.
We found them once before, but weren't so lucky yesterday. During the search, though, we saw several jackrabbits bounding through the sage, their long, black-tipped ears serving as flags and clearly marking their progress through the landscape.

Looking around in this vast wilderness, I bet lots of people would think "lots of nothing"...but I see it teeming with life. It's just a more subtle life than the jungle, for instance. We saw jackrabbits, lizards, deer tracks, bobcat scat, coyote scat, and there were lots of insects and birds. Not to mention all the vegetation. I'm not terribly familiar with this landscape/ecology, but I hate the idea of doing away with it simply because humans don't see much on first glance. I'm glad these sorts of expanses exist, just the way they are.
Chalk Bluffs

I love the color palette here.

On the drive home I saw a couple little kangaroo rats cross the road. Cute!

Today we went up to the Happy Boulders, and dusted off our climbing shoes. The forearm pump feels good. Familiar. My climbing shoes feel foreign, it's been 3 yrs since I've climbed! Ben and I played around on a few V.0s before our skin was too thin to take any more. What a gorgeous day. Warm, with a cool breeze. Sun on my skin feels good. My brain needs to chill out. Walking up to the boulders I was very out of shape and I was doubting myself incredibly, especially with all the changes to the 'scene' as I mentioned before. Do I belong anymore? Am I just a poser? But it doesn't matter. I had fun, and that's what it's all about. I am sad that I didn't spend more of my 20s climbing. I had the distinct thought as I walked up to those boulders, "Vet school was the worst decision of my life." It ate up 4 years of my youth, and left me with PTSD and a shit-ton of debt. That was the first time I had ever full-on REGRETTED going to vet school. It may be the only time I've ever really regretted anything. I hope it's the last time. What a terrible yucky unhealthy feeling. I am happy to be here in Bishop, doing a smidgen of bouldering, enjoying my warm sleeping bag at night and the cool air, cooking on my cookstove in the morning, exploring the high sierra desert,and just chilling with no real agenda. I think we might go to Keough Hot Springs here in a minute.

My arms were weak, but my feet intuitively remembered good technique.
The colors are muted, but so pretty together.