It’s was late, and I packed my Subaru with a full double rack. I stuffed my sleeping bag, pad, tent, and clothes on one another on the floor in the back seat–on the drivers side. I arranged the gear and the rope and the packs and the shoes and the chalk in the trunk–on the drivers side. The eggs were boiled and cooling in a bowl of cold water in the fridge and I was at peace. The guidebooks and topos were arranged neatly in stacks on the passenger seat awaiting acquainting glances from my climbing partner as we made our way north into Nevada. I took a last look over the trunk and the backseat and was pleased. I was ready. I shut the door and sat back against my car staring into the sky and listened to the wind.
There was a soothing breeze blowing off the Pacific, and it brought with it peace of mind. The winds of content; the winds of courage. The fire was stoked and it fueled my ambitions. It is the fever of passion and it’s the reason I’ve fallen in love with this way of life. This is where I belong. This is what I was born to do. This is what my inner workings are hardwired for.
There were a lot of places that my mind could have wandered, and most of those places would have elevated my heart rate, and prolonged the chaos I was seeking escape from, but not that night. That night my mind was soothed by the wind, and I allowed myself to dream. I allowed myself to envision perfect days. They won’t happen everyday, but they will happen some. There is not a destination that I need to reach so much as a state of mind that I need to acquire.
The next night I sat in a midnight AA meeting at Lestats. I was still in San Diego. My partner bailed that morning. Expectations are just as shifty as the wind, but I never remember that and just end up a resentful victim.
I was irritated for the majority of that day, but instead of processing it I tried to console myself with immaturity and self-pity. That wind still blew, and it blew cold. The wind of disappointment; the wind of conflict. I went soloing that afternoon and then I had Thai food for dinner. I should have been in Red Rock. I should have been warming up for my tear by soloing Physical Graffiti and Big Bad Wolf. Instead I was running laps on my local circuit in Mission Gorge.
That night, sitting in Midnight Howlers, sheltered from the cool Pacific wind, I reflected and admitted to myself that it was not that serious. Life will move on. There will be more trips. This climbing partner is moving on, but there will be more. This trip fell through, but there will be more that don’t. Sometimes I’m humble enough to remind myself that if I served my full conviction I wouldn’t even be out yet. The last eight years have truly been a gift, and here I am walking around like someone threw my sucker in the dirt.
One plan fell through. It’s not that serious. It sucks, but only because I hold on to it. I get so attached to my expectations that I try and orchestrate my life as if I’m the composer, when really I’m nothing more than an obscure object blowing in an unchangeable wind. I’m home today, and I can go out and climb a mountain and shit my pants tomorrow. For now I’ll just drink way too much coffee and eat cookies for breakfast and wait for the wind to blow in my direction.