Monthly Archives: May 2016

frozen (out)


went for a hike with a friend on Friday on a nearby trail. it was her first time on it. as the day went on, she kept getting better and better. her performance surprised and impressed me. we topped out on our hike and headed back down

about .8 miles out, she slipped off a trail supporting log and crumpled. after about 10 minutes, she got up and tried to walk, after about 20 yards, it became obvious that the answer was “no dice”.  I asked if she wanted to try to hobble along or go for help. shortly thereafter, I headed down the trail to get help.

my first concern became the time. I figured the ranger station would close at 5:00 pm and the time read 4:30. better get a move on, I thought. i sent Mary a text to update her since she expected us for dinner.

wallace falls-mid falls

I made it to the ranger station only to see the sign hanging in the window, “closed”. Hearing rustling in the office, I worked up the courage , knowing I had to, and knocked on the door. An elderly gentleman, a volunteer  with a big bushy gray mustache, answered the door. he heard my story and called over to his daughter, another volunteer, to gather anything that might work like a crutch.

We loaded the supplies into the gator, a glorified golf cart with a dump bed. this ride got us  1/2 mile closer to my friend. We got out and walked the rest of the way to where my friend waited.

we didn’t have a good crutch system, not unless a shovel handle qualifies as a good crutch. my friend began to drag herself forward. shortly thereafter she said,” this feels a little too much like the revenant.“ After 100 yards or so, it became obvious this wasn’t going to work. The volunteer called back down to the office to inform that we needed search&rescue only to find out s&r were on their way. at this time, we truly had no idea who called s&r, knowing that s&r were on the way, we thought it would be silly to struggle on.we sat down and waited.

side creek wallace river

s&r arrived shortly thereafter, and loaded her up and strapped her into the orange rescue basket. next, s&r mounted a fat large wheel to support most of the weight for the trip down. my friend didn’t mind the six s&r people working the basket on the trip down, especially nathan.

in no time, we had made it to the parking lot. as my friend got ready for the ambulance ride, I counted the aid vehicles: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. well, nine if you count their gator! the park volunteer told us the s&r sometimes get board and they jump at any opportunity to get out of the station. i guess that proves the point.

we headed to the hospital, me in my friend’s car and my friend in her private red chariot. While traveling there, i finally got enough charge on a phone to call Mary. I gave her and update on the situation. I her told that someone had called 911 but we weren’t sure who. She said she didn’t know what to do, so she called 911. they gathered enough information to make the decision to send out the cavalry. mystery solved.


wallace falls-upper falls

i got to the hospital with the ambulance right behind me. I hurried to the ambulance to go in with my friend so i didn’t have to ask what room she was in. she expressed her concern about potentially getting separated and she felt like she wanted me in the er. with a rather jovial mood x-rays were taken, time past, and prognosis got delivered: a sprained ankle. my friend was given a new, shiny set of crutches and some very incomplete instructions on how to use them. We headed to the car and then my house where dinner waited.


Mary had made soup and sandwiches and my friend and i recounted the tales of the day and even though Mary and my friend had only met that morning, they continued to hit it off. the mood remained jovial and light. I received a text from her mom and responded as requested with a vague reply.  The day finished and my friend headed for home. All seemed well.

The next day, I started by sending a “How are you doing?” text. It felt strange when she did not reply as our communication had been rather timely in the past. Throughout the day, i pinged her with a couple of short text. by the end of the afternoon i sent her a text basically saying, “i care about you but i can’t make you let me help you. contact me when you can.” as previously agreed to, I also sent her my pictures from the day. i use a dlsr so, i have to load my pictures from the camera to the computer. then, i had no choice but to sit and wait.

the next day, i checked my phone far more frequently than i normally do, wanting, hoping to see some sort of reply. morning and the afternoon came and went and i stayed wanting for something, anything, even a leave me alone because ten i’d know where i stood.

wallace river valley

early evening, the phone rings. it is my friend. i answer. we talk. she talks of her struggles with her ankle and with life. she admits to isolating. we have our normally good conversation, challenging at times, in a good way, mind you. she tell me she’ll be following up with her doc the next day. we part ways. i’m left feeling satisfied and fulfilled. Maybe things might return closer to normal.

the next morning, i send her a text saying I’d appreciate an update after the doctor’s visit. I received no text from her all day. In the interest of fair disclosure, truthfulness and the american way, pretty much the entire day, mary and i were outside the range of cellular service. the moment we hit the first tower, a message pops through. Her doctor’s appointment is now the next day and let’s talk later. i suggest 8:30 and she said that works for her.

8:35-i call. her phone rings and dumps to voice mail. 9:10, the same thing and similar results and 9:40. one of my core struggles, one of my nemesis, abandonment takes up residence in my psyche.  I sent her a text, letting her know i’m riding a kiddie’s roller coaster compared to the adult coaster she’s been riding. I am also able to show her empathy since I have had to serious mobility injuries. I also show her some compassion and myself some self-compassion. the art of self compassion had its birth from a challenge she gave me. That challenge, though only a week old, has truly changed my life.

wallace falls-mid falls

what are my hopes? that she calls me after her doctors appointment and we get back on track. it’s already happened once.
what are my expectations? that may not happen.
what are my desires? to find a way to detach. she’s offered me many things but i think i’m wound too tightly.
what are my apprehensions? as someone who struggles with depression, the trap of isolation has snared her.
what are my fears? that i’m acting too much like an overbearing boyfriend.

btw, this may seem like a lengthy post, but the first version was on track to have twice as information, hence twice as long.

reflections off the water

the art of self compassion

i didn’t have the easiest life growing up. there existed one case of physical abuse. that pales in comparison to the emotional abuse perpetrated through the lack of anything close to the unconditional love that would have allowed me to thrive. that lack of love, the message of i’m okay with who and where i am, not only holds me back, it fuels the downward spiral into depression. feeling broken, i lack self-confidence. lacking self-confidence, i don’t try to move on. by not trying, at best i can’t move forward and at worst get sucked into the downward spiral.

all of that creates a lot of pain in my heart. that pain binds me up and leaves me in an inescapable squirm. the ropes that bind me hinder any forward progress, but how can i lose those ropes that bind, lose the anger and resentment?



first towards the object of my eyer, yep, even the very man who couldn’t dole out anything close to unconditional love to me deserves compassion. for reasons unknown to me, he didn’t get the love he needed, certainly not enough to pass it on to the next generation. i find that sad. people, more so my father deserved that love. it his lifetime the anger and resentment held me back, but at least now, i can see even he can and does deserve love.

then there is the much larger struggle with self-compassion. i have developed my idea of love traveling through life. it includes a huge helping of the unattainable unconditional love, of complete acceptance. the message of you’re okay where you are and who you are fell on my ears on a far to0 infrequent basis. that chasm between what i got and the unattainable goal of perfect unconditional love becomes an open pit which makes me pissed, angry and disdainful. i want to be over there living in nirvana, the land of milk and honey and that seems completely unattainable. how can i get there?

imageself-compassion. since i am not a perfect communicator, there is only one person in my life that can completely understand my perfect love. so, if i am the only person who truly knows my idea love i’m the best source of getting it.

when i too often find myself as the quivering blob in the corner, i can be pissed, angry, and disdainful, i can sit there, stomping my feet screaming, ”i want to be over there.” on the other hand, with the gift of self-compassion, i can choose to wrap myself up in the blanket of the love that i so desire. with each additional wrap, i build a pile, pier, pier cap, beam or girder, building a bridge, moving me closer to that idea love i so desire.

i know my idea love. far too often, i find the gap between where i am today and where i want to be as a seeming unfillable gap. i now recognize that gap doesn’t have to be filled, but can be bridged with self-compassion. by working on the bridge, by using self-compassion, i move myself from the hate i often feel now, and closer to the love i have come to desire.

what keeps you from the love you desire? who is the best earthly source of that desired love?

blue boat getting away?

the brother i never knew

the brother i never knew – i’m sure i’ve talked about my siblings. and more specifically, brothers, but this brother is different. micheal was born and died almost exactly 7 years to the day of my entry into this world, for obvious reasons, i never got a chance to meet him. on his passing, he got buried with the most basic of children’s headstone. since that day, he was and seldom is ever discussed by my family.

i don’t know if that is weird, but Mary’s family honors the siblings they never had. family celebrations always had a vase of rose with eight roses. six red roses signified the living children and 2 white roses signified the children that had gone before them.

fast-forward some nearly 60 nears. and i found myself smack dab in the middle of my hellacious depressive cycle. i went to a funeral and the internment happened to be at micheal’s cemetery. after the solemn proceedings, my uncle Ed approached me and we went over to micheal’s site. micheal’s cement headstone with his name stamped into it stood in stark contrast to some of the surrounding, nicer marble headstones.

FullSizeRender 2

Ed made a kind and generous offer. he offered to contribute to an updated michael’s headstone if my family contributed to it. i kindly thanked him for the offer and took some pictures so i could explain the options to my siblings.

depression ruled, so days turned to months and i still hadn’t sent and the email to my siblings. you could rightfully say, “how much energy does it take to write and send an email?” there were literally hundreds of times i had composed the email in my head. unfortunately, the pathway from the brain to the keyboard and screen never cleared enough to make it happen. to answer the question from the beginning of the paragraph, “more than i had.” believe me, the many times i thought about the uncompleted request, i felt some combination of bad, sad, and a feeling of letting Ed down. even today, i still struggle with these feelings.

though i still hang around the periphery of depression this story has a happy ending. my uncle Ed took it on his own to purchase the upgraded headstone of his own resources. Ed sounds like a cool dude, huh? well, let me tell you, he is that and then some. oh, the stories i could tell, in a good way mind you.


(btw, the cemetery didn’t blur out my last name, i did. :^) )