Sunday, June 7, 2009

Summer Ketchup

In my life, there are times when I write a lot, to the point of insanity, and other times when things are moving so quickly and with such intensity that I simply seize the moments passing without having the time to explore them in words. This past month+change was something like that. Moving at the speed of life itself, I haven't written much, and utterly neglected my blog. Here's a snapshot or two of catch-up...

Newlyweds Shane and Rindy Richins

April 25, 2009.

Groomsman Andy, Bridesmaid Jenn

Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your lives with me!

I moved out of SLC for the summer right after the wedding, just shy of the 12 month mark for the house I’d been in. A whole, consistent year in one place is my limit; I haven’t stayed a day longer in one house since moving away from my mom’s. This move was especially difficult, love the people, the house, my stay there was wonderful… but, hey, that's that.

Rafting season kicked off in early May with my first commercial run of the year and guide training in Moab. Here's a shot from the office, a.k.a. the Professor Valley. All of May was gypsy style, purging the routines and consistency of winter from my free-spirited soul. From that first weekend in Moab I visited a dear friend in Park City, spent a night in Idaho Falls with another friend, drove to Montana for my long-time BFF's graduation from Montana State University.

We spent the weekend partying on Main Street, hiking, enjoying the flavors of Bozeman. I reflected on the amazing phenomena of friendship, that after four years of long distance phone calls, being together just felt like home in the presence of someone I love. The following week we spent in Missoula, getting her moved out and enjoying each other's company. I scoped out the Clark Fork river and UofM as settings for possible future adventures such as kayaking and grad school. Looked promising enough.

This photo session took place in a parking garage where a friend took us to sing with the echo of concrete - he'd gone to Catholic school, and sent some amazing Gregorian chants bouncing off the walls. Good times in Montana.

The drive from Missoula to central Idaho ranked an easy top 5 for me. I love contemplative, long gorgeous drives. From Lolo over the snow covered pass to the deep, sheer canyon hosting the Lochsa, curving road, pelting rain, and clouds through cedar forest - the smell and feel and views were truly stunning. My windshield wipers were going full-boar to combat the onslaught of that heavy rain, making it easy not to envy the rafters in training, practicing rope rescue with an overturned boat through class IV+ waves.

Photo: this cherry picker coming into my lane under the overpass inspired a chuckle!

My first stop across the Idaho border was at Shorts Bar, a sandy beach upriver from Riggins where the day-long rafting trips put into the Salmon. I took some time to write, sitting on the hood of my car overlooking the moving water, reflecting the shadows of a slow Idaho sunset through the dramatic canyon. A lone trumpeter swan flew overhead, some deer passed. Everything was green and thriving from recent rain and the excitement of early spring, and I felt I could identify.

Photo: First view of the Salmon from Twin Bridges, 2009. That little green sign says Salmon River, I promise. ;)

I spent the next three days training with Brundage, the company I will spend the latter half of the summer guiding for, rowing big, delicious Idaho whitewater. I am stoked to return to the home state. Our family cabin in central Idaho is, of anywhere on earth, the physical location I feel most at home at. And the Salmon River very well may be my next great love affair. My grandma has been telling everyone she wants me to "Find a nice Idaho boy to marry, so she'll stop leaving all the time." We'll see about that. ;)

After training with Brundage, spending a week with family in Boise and a few days in Park City, I've landed for a whole month in the little desert hamlet of Moab, Utah, where I am spending the month of June. I couldn't have a summer without at least a little time here, I am so grateful that it’s worked out for me and my employers.
The La Salle mountains from the Hidden Valley. Moab, UT.

Life in Moab has been spinning at it's normal, crazed rate, and I have been loving it. I got right to work guiding trips, and have been exchanging room and board with my friends' family for work as a ranch hand and some housekeeping chores. I have to say, I love ranching. It's a mysterious, earthy art, a task for the disciplined, an expression of being in tune with life. I'm inspired by it. The ranch here has been operating for over a hundred years, and is a precious little oasis in the middle of Moab, obscured on both sides by cottonwoods trees that grow alongside Millcreek and Pack Creek. I'll write a separate blog about it, it's too amazing for just this paragraph. Here is a preliminary photo, guess how the hay gets from the field to the trailer to the barn... ?

The veterans here keep trying to convince me that buckin' bales isn't fun. I was and am still pretty excited about it. :)

This weekend some friends came down from SLC to do a day trip on Westwater, one of the west's famous and scenic whitewater sections. I slept out under the stars the night prior, listening to the sounds of the river and mosquitos squealing in my ear. When we took off in the morning, our guide, my friend Jack, was a little apprehensive. A life flight helicopter flew by right after we passed a bald eagle, seemingly contradictory omens. Needless to say, we paddled on. Jack swam a little bit of Funnel Falls, but steered a clean line for us through Skull Rapid, an infamous class IV hole known for claiming lives on it's "Rock of Shock" and accompanying "Room of Doom" - a massive, swirling whirlpool to the right of the main current.

Our crew!

Paddle Captain Jack and me!
So, there it is, a snapshot update of my summer, so far.
I've thought lately that my wish for the world is that beauty of the earth and simplicity of life won't be overpowered or obscured by stress, cynicism, or mundane and necessary tasks. We're only here once, pretty sure. Live it up. After all, "life is too short to be against everything,"a mentor of mine once said on the waters of the Salmon River.
Love ya. Be well.


Rindy and Shane said...

I love it!! I'm so glad to be your friend! I'm glad you have been able to see and do all those things that bring you joy! I love that you are living on my farm (in my room no less) and actually ENJOYING the farm! I'm one of those veterans that doesn't like farming! :-) I can't wait to see you again. It's only been a week or so but it has already been too long! Love ya!

haikitay said...

If I had read you blog before I did your quiz I would have done much better. Love the blog hope you don't mind if I peruse it every once in a while.

Jess said...

Hey lovely! just read through your post (again)..makes me smile. Thinking of you, hope you're well and happppy! I want to chat soon, da-gom-it! This weekend, I'm thinkin...

Kim said...

What a wonderful gift... to find so much joy in LIVING! Thank you for sharing your joy!