Monthly Archives: March 2014

Day 13

Franz Josef, New Zealand

 

Dedication is the Franz Josef Glacier site workers who re-cut the ice steps every morning.

With a stitch in my side I look out over the river and its crying cliff-faces. I don’t blame them—words here are not enough.

More satisfying than softball cleats, my crampons lodge me in fearless position. I test my balance, like someone strapped into skis for the first time, able to bend backward without falling.

Blue ice is something I’ve only seen in pictures, like the ombre autumn mountains in Vermont until I moved there.

We start our hike in t-shirts. By glacier’s top, triple layers—more as protection from ice burn than chill, the strenuous cardio sufficiently warming my skin.

There was no preparing for this.

When I do something I fear, I learn more about myself than in any college psychology class.

I meet my fiancé’s eyes, both our backs flattened to an ice wall, shuffling sideways on a narrow shelf. I want to take his hand, but there’s a deep trench at our feet just wide enough for an average-size adult to slip through.

He takes mine anyway.

When I conquer something I fear, it usually starts with a suggestion from Derek.

It’s not the ensuing muscle pain that I remember—though I know it was there—or whether I was sweating or shivering.

What I remember is feeling small and more involved with this Earth than I knew I could be–amazed by the landscape of a country that for half my life I didn’t even know existed.

I remember promising myself: never stop exploring.

Jan. 2009

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What’s with House Parties?

I’d never seen my husband so close to punching another man until the night the Mexican version of Saturday Night Live’s Drunk Uncle asked if I wanted to bang. It was his house after all, he reminded us, each repetition louder and more slurred than the last.

Fireball tastes like Red Hots—the candy my grandma always kept stocked in her basement pantry. Fireball was Pink-Haired Girl’s favorite libation, and we talked Harry Potter on the front porch until M.D.U. stumbled out, so rudely interrupting us. In honor of H.P., Pink-Haired Girl had “DA” tattooed on her arm–the kind of tattoo done at home by a friend who does it because he likes it enough to not get paid.

Next to the bathroom a bedroom door opened on a lanky black boy attempting to feed sips of water to his passed-out girlfriend. She incoherently vocalized her misery from the twin bed, refusing to drink.

The kitchen seemed like the safest grounds.

Until the backyard became the best.

Then no place at all.

Time to go.