Wednesday, July 4, 2012
some days will stand out in the library of my mind like splashes of red on snow. monday was a day... so full of emotion that i still don't know how to file it away. i may never know. it began with the decision to climb a mountain. mt. san antonio or more widely recognized as "mt. baldy". rob and i packed our daypacks and made a quick trader joes stop before making the hour drive into the san bernardino mountains. usually i read emails or play a game on my phone when rob is driving. usually i try to pass the time on the freeway by distracting myself. i didn't on monday. on monday my eyes were fully on the road ahead. when we came on the scene of the accident my first thought was that we'd now be stuck in traffic because someone had blown a tire. my second thought was that it must have just happened because no police officers were there yet. my third thought was look away look away look away o fuck o fuck no. my hand over my face and barely able to breathe. no more thoughts only a picture. silence. rob and myself in complete horrified shock. silence. park at the trail. we talked it out for a while and i cried and then we knew that all we could do was continue on and climb. the nearly 4,000 foot climb in a short four miles was perhaps one of the most difficult hikes i've been on. and yet, i had only one picture in my mind and i'd do anything to erase it or at least climb a mountain because i could. because i was alive. sunburned and sweaty, we found the top and celebrated the view. the mood finally was lifting and i felt so proud of myself for making it and not giving up or even threatening to give up as i often do. i looked in all directions and noticed a helicopter getting closer. military bird of some sort. they circled low and rob gave a friendly wave. they circled again, slower. my first thought was wow this is so cool to see up close on the top of a mountain. my second thought was i can't believe they are getting so close and landing just a short distance away from us. my third thought was o fuck there is gravel shooting at my body and i have nowhere to take cover. i ducked and grabbed my shirt in an attempt to cover my face at least so i could breathe. the chopper was so loud and gravel was hitting me from every direction. i can't explain the feeling of helplessness and fear that drenched me in those few minutes. finally they lifted off and left us shaken and abused and pissed off. every pore was full of sand and small rocks. they were coming back. rob and i started back down as quickly as we could with this sense of being under attack by boys who are supposed to protect and serve. they circled low a few times as if teasing us but we were out of the way by then. the hike down the mountain was equally as strenuous as the trek up so when we reached the car i was shaky but again just thrilled i'd done it.
i climbed my first mountain. it started out as a goal for myself but in the end i did it for him. it was the only way i could find to honor a stranger who gave me the gift of valuing my life as he lost his own.