Monday, January 31, 2005

Pondering the Big Questions...

What do you say to your almost 87 year old mother, when she tells you that she wonders why she is still here? And that she's been wondering, as well, why humans are on earth? As in, Why Are We Here? I think she was tired. She'd had a rough night, waking frequently, her sleep full of tiring dreams. She has told me before that sometimes she wakes up exhausted; she'd been working in her dreams all night, like the princesses who were enchanted by a sorcerer and whisked off to his palace where he made them clean his castle, returning them to their beds at dawn. Well, as for why she's still here, living with us, I offered her the following options: if you believe in a Higher Power, then you could say this Power has some plan for you. If you prefer a rational explanation, well, then, you are a woman in good shape for your age, despite your memory problems, who walks every day and takes care of herself. As for why we're all here on earth, once again, I told her, if you believe in a "God," then you believe this "god" made us and put us here; but I sure don't buy that baloney. We are some kind of bizarre chemical accident, and are on the way out. Hoist by our own selfishness. I'm not sure what she thought of that, but she knows me well enough to realize I won't be spewing any falsely optimistic malarkey.
What was pleasurable today? The weather was amazingly gorgeous for late January; we had a nice walk; I had great fun at the climbing gym, trying new lead routes and talking with friends I've made there; and returning home to find out our son had called from J-Tree, and all was well with him. I wish we could instantly transport ourselves down there to see him, and explore the area, but it doesn't appear that it will work out that way.
I'm tired from the climbing workout. Off to bed with a book.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

After a good night's sleep...

How infrequent, and how delicious to sleep several hours at a crack; a shift over time in what's precious. So the gray chilly weather doesn't matter, since I can get warm by running hills in the park below the zoo. It's perversely pleasurable to force the pace going uphill, and a relief to roll downward. A man in ominous-looking gloves and helmet is attempting to commune with the rabbits in the little rocky cove where wild and abandoned bunnies thrive. People often hang around Bunny Rocks, feeding them carrots and lettuce, letting their dogs harass the poor creatures, or quietly observing them. We used to take our pre-school son to see the rabbits. He enjoyed watching them, inventorying their variety, and specualting about what they did in their warrens under the rocks.
Then I run along the lake to the gym, for the start of my 21st year of using Nautilus machines. it's a repetitive activity that keeps me intact for climbing, hiking and kayaking. Tomorrow afternoon is another session at the climbing gym; time to knuckle down and train for the comps.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Suffering as payment

It was too late to go out; I knew that. We were both tired, yet we went anyway. Someone we've known for several years, an excellent stand-up and electric bass player, had a gig within walking distance of our home. We hadn't seen him for a while, and one of us, however pie-eyed, was dying to go out and hear music. It was fun; the little restaurant-cum-dive was dimly lit, and full of odd little side rooms into which you couldn't really see without peering intrusively. The little group - bass, keyboard, trumpet, drums and vocalist - energetically hopped into their "dirty funk" performance. Never have I heard Jim Morrison "funked up." No doubt the Lizard King was squirming in whatever dimension his messed-up essence resides, as last night's singer sent funkily distorted strains of "Break on Through" off into the night air. The guy flung out whatever sounds he'd been influenced by, from Sly Stone to Hendrix, with a raft of current hip hop themes in the mix. At the end of their first set, the drummer mellifluously "went to church" at the end of a number.
A very joyful young woman bopped into the tiny dance space next to the band, took one look at us and pulled us up to join her. She was quite the party facilitator. We may have been grooving around to a funkified rendition of "Foxy Lady." Blessed, blessed dim lighting...
Fun, but I got to sleep too late, slept too badly, and probably shouldn't have had that second beverage. it's taken all day for the ice pick to disappear from the side of my head; but I'd do it over, and I'll do it again someday.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Climbing till you drop

So the route got conquered, pretty smoothly. It's fun, it's overhanging, it wanders and traverses a bit, and has nice big holds. I was thrilled that I remembered the finishing sequence. That's my biggest challenge, figuring out where to put my extremities while going upwards. Being strongly left-handed, I've had to fight to develop coordination on both sides.
And every session, whether inside or out, I spend a certain amount of time throwing myself at routes beyond my ability. There's a visceral thrill at managing extremely difficult sequences, for whatever twisted reasons. The effort involved takes me outside my personal preoccupations. How strange that i'll endure a fair amount of discomfort and outright pain in order to get this experience...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Third route: Desert gold

The third route was a pleasure to create. As I master the logistics of hauling myself and a big bucket of holds and tools up the wall, having much more readily chosen the holds from those available in the storage room, I'm starting to have fun wending a way upwards. My secret little plan was to mimic, in a much easier form, a particularly challenging set of moves I encountered outside on a climb up a steep granite wall.
At my present age, big wall climbing sounds like way too much work.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Sequencing is crucial. If you read the route incorrectly, you fumble or fall. You can''t be overconfident but you can't be fearful. It was a lovely little route and at the last move I placed a foot incorrectly. What a surprise for me and my partner, who caught my good-sized fall. Back to the top, finish, and rehearse the better choice. Command your legs to stop shaking, and commit the sequnce to memory. Perform it successfully on Friday.
Tomorrow, another attempt at creating my own route.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Practice run

Maybe it was the effects of a full moon, a full stomach and a thwarted creative drive - somehow I was inveigled into launching this. Image: lunar disc blurred by mist, nested in
clouds of varying shades. What does it look like in the SoCal desert? There's an earnest boy playing a bamboo flute to a crisply clear moon, accompaniment to coyote chorus.