Saturday, May 14, 2011

Making, Taking, Breaking Waves

I'm back on board as a card carrying, Wilderness Medicine Institute certified Wilderness First Responder - may I help you? :) That's our a patient pickup line - and one I'd rather not have to use, for the record.

Been thinking of cumulative life experience lately, and the little things I'm grateful for. Even boring and tedious things have significance and transferability into bigger experiences. Everything counts.

The WFR experience has been a good one and provided a wealth knowledge drawn on in many moments following my initial certification in 2006. Aside from first aid stuff on the river and in the mountains, I've been first or nearly first on the scene of three major highway accidents and treated a half dozen strangers for shock while waiting for urban medical teams to arrive. Shock is a fascinating biological response; when the body experiences trauma, ie blood loss, it responds by shunting (my new pet word) its juices (literally, blood) to the vital organs. 

 I've thought often about this idea of shock, the shunting of energy to where it most matters - and how that goes beyond physical survival and into the broader picture of my life. You know, you put your energy where it counts kinda thing. Something I've mentioned before. So much of this winter has been seismic, shifting, grand scale changes in my mind and heart. Shock comes in many forms. 

This past week I was sitting on the banks of the flood swollen Bear River just over the Idaho border north of Logan, renewing my Swiftwater Rescue certification. It was raining, a cold dreary kind, a pervasive dampness sank past the layers, through the neoprene and flesh of me into my bones. I'm sitting there attempting not to shiver, mentally preparing myself to dive sidelong (never head first!) into the current, swim for my life through a wave train, hop on the bank and ready myself with a rope to stage rescue for the next swimmer. It crosses my mind that clean warm fresh folded laundry, making hot meals and nursing babies might not be so terrible. Whoa. Did I just think that? 

I've loved every minute of this gypsy life. This is who I am, where I've been, what I've gleaned from the earth and my presence on it and how I've chosen to actively live. I'll love life still, no matter where my paths carry me, but I think a part of the fight in me has outgrown the wanderer's shoes, and that I have nothing further to prove on this front. This has been a long time coming, often in my blog I've spoken of travels, love, independence, futures unknown and moments ripe for the relishing. Of making space and making waves.  I've seen more than a few of my ilk go into a headlong battle against growing up, loving and being loved, settling down - and people have lost that battle, or won it in a way traditionally not accepted, depending on your perspective. I don't know the meaning of all things - but I do know that in me there has been a shift in willingness, intention, and a death of a former aversion - and I'm okay with that.

I'm in the rounds of final preparation for Alaska, takeoff is in nineteen days. Certifications are finished. Still have some gear to purchase, much to do. A surprise not wholly unanticipated cropped up in the game plan: I have to move out of C4. Like right now, before I leave for AK, rather than parking my car and domestic implements there in my absence and walking right back in the door of my established life and domicile upon return.The HOA has decided to take action on some issues and as a result, they'll be demolishing part of the apartment I've occupied. I can't stay even if I want to. I don't love this, it's not what I had intended - except in that there's nothing I can do about it, so I'm just going to take it head on with acceptance and see what the future holds. That's all you can do with some things in life. Like a medical diagnosis, a death, a devastation - walk forward with juicy loving acceptance and faith in the unknown.  

I know this beautiful woman, a poet, a dreamer, a teacher - in the throes of a personal tragedy, she tattooed a symbol of sap into her arm to represent active healing, bleeding willingly, having capacity to recover. It's stuck with me and I've thought often of that idea as even minor things have come up on the horizon. Much of my supposed anchors have been cut loose in the past few months, and though I feel sort of adrift in this freedom - in other regards, I have never felt so sure that my course is being divinely guided and directed for the best outcomes. 

AK, here I come. The countdown is on. 
Much love, y'all.


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