So much has happened. I know it's worthy of being documented. I guess the best way to handle it is just get that lonely blinking cursor moving from left to right. Top to bottom. In some ways, the freefall is stabilizing. I've had the same job for a little while now. I've repaid some debts. I feel a lot of growth in and through me. What was a fun and nearly tongue in cheek snap decision-going to work on the boat-a year ago has become much more.
At first, there was reflection on just being. The first time I saw the volcanic peaks of the Aleutian chain poking their crowns through the water, I just drank it in. Here. Now. This. That was the extent of reflection, just assessing how I felt about what was in front of me. And I endured that season effortlessly. Not easily, but with the hard, plodding, persistence of a diesel truck. Hard work, but without too much strain.
And now, after falling into a rhythm of sorts, I find my inward glances considering who I may become. I wonder, 'Is this it?' and 'what next?'. I joke about having a bachelor's degree and working a labor job. They ask, "What do you do with a degree in philosophy?" I respond, "You work on a fishing boat." Perhaps. Perhaps not. I have been, however, and find that who I've become encourages who I will become.
|Look out behind you hippy chick!|
For example. Have you ever found a hippy chick on the side of the road? Well neither have I, per se, but I have some new friends. We went hiking. Not a complete shocker. I've been camping and hiking etc. and enjoy myself. But matching the enthusiasm of Briana and Lana while undertaking these outdoor excursions is a fool's errand. You are not going to match it. You can only hope to keep up.
So Briana's friend Lana is like a ferret with excellent locution and a charming smile. Just enthusiasm, positivity and all in all what the Zest soap people should have used for their commercials when advertizing zest. On our way to the hike, when the two girls got together for their little pre-hike huddle, we got the scouting report on the trail mix she made. I couldn't begin to list all of the included goodies any more than I could recite the dialogue of Twilight. I do recall, quite vividly, that there were 'beheaded gummi bears'. Ya. I asked, "Soooooo, you're saying you cut the heads off of the gummis?'. She shook her head while swallowing some and I looked on her with dramatized interest. She said, still swallowing, 'No, I kinda ripped them off' and she smiled wide. Then I tried to figure out why with a few probing suggestions. She shrugged like I asked her why her hair was brown. As if saying, 'what do you mean? It just is. Pfft.'
So ya. That's right before the starting gates. At the starting gates, or trailhead, there were a few already assembled. These were part of the group we were illicitly joining. Oh ya, we were gate crashers. This was some online adventure club or some such shit and it never occurred to Lana that there'd be a problem with bringing a couple friends. Well, it occurred to me that there might be.
So I adapted. I had a seriously official blue poncho courtesy of Briana. I felt official. What do you do when you feel official while joining a group of strangers at a trailhead for a hike? You impersonate the leader, or usurp the role of guide. When faced with authority, lay claim to greater authority. That's what I say. So I walked up to the group with two pretty girls and a fine man named Pete. I stood on the elevated concrete, "Are you guys here for the Hike? My name is Franklin and I'll be your guide today. The most important thing for everyone involved is safety. Without safety we've got nothing..." and blah blah blah. I don't know why I did it. But I did.
Well that didn't last long because the lady who was obviously the real guide or whatever showed up. I'm not saying she was butch. She wasn't. Just severe and apparently serious about her hiking. Her name was Jean. '...cheer up sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean-to a-day dream believer and a homecoming queen...' That happened. And Lana joined me. Neither of us knew the verse.
Enter Alton or Alistair or whatever his name was. He made a joke about hearing Lana sing that in her shower the night before while she was showering. This was the first time they ever saw each other. Kind of weird. Alistair had more and more off color jokes throughout the day. I had the displeasure of separating myself from his conversation after kind of bonding with him for the first couple minutes. You know, like when someone is going too far, but you don't know when the line was crossed so you aren't sure about how to address it? That happened. Just at some point I thought to myself that I couldn't continue on that line of conversation in good conscience.
|The fast way down|
So we started the hike. Five total miles and 1200 feet in elevation. Sounded like a gradual ascent in my mind. The first half mile had me thinking about faking a hamstring injury. Seriously. I hadn't slept or drank any water and I just saw discomfort in my future. But I knew I would just do the hike. And about halfway to the top it got easier. Then I got a loose and it was fine. But for an 'easy' hike, it kinda kicked my ass.
There were little things that may have been worth mentioning now. But everything was well worth experiencing. It was misty, green, and fresh. It felt like the artificially floral and wet environment of a green house or nursery. Only it was real. And trust me, the trail wasn't much. Just a general absence of trees about four feet wide. And plenty of opportunities to scrub.
But the hike was just the beginning. By the time it was over, I was a bit stiff and feeling rather unfresh. I might have put deodorant on since my last shower, but my last shower may have been three days hence. So there was that. And the girls started planning the rest of the day like two boxers with broken hands circling eachother. A lot of talk, but not much attack. I caught snippets of conversation and with each bit of excitement they displayed, I retreated further into my zen. These two dizzy dames were ready to storm the beaches of Normandy one activity at a time. Briana looked at me and asked, "Do you have an opinion?". I nodded. "Sounds good." That wasn't exactly the exchange, but it may as well have been because off we went for lunch, shopping, and then trampoline land and maybe dinner.
Don't get me wrong. I wasn't looking for an out. But my analytical mind cataloged the information at hand which included years of following my mom around the mall and the faces of adult men accompanying their wives at said stores. Not good. But off we went. And if I didn't feel the threat of rendering anyone within ten feet of me unconscious with my smell it would have been a bit more blast-like,
We'll just call that portion of the day three hours at 'Recreational Equipment, Inc.'
Then trampoline world. This was something that kind of interested me. I loved jumping on trampolines as a kid. I did flips, I'd land on my back and flop to my front, spin around-loads of fun. Let me tell you what the 240 pound version did. Bounced a couple times and wondered when the tramp was gonna break. Or when I was gonna break. The tramp felt like it was gonna hit the ground it was sinking so far. The girl who worked there assured me it wouldn't.
But I didn't have too many tricks up my sleeveless shirt. I couldn't control the jump at all. Getting high wasn't a problem because the springs were stretched into a lazy 's' in all likelihood and when they bounced back, up I went. Wondering when I'd hit the trampoline again. So I got off the tramp and checked out a few others. They had dodgeball and basket ball there too. I asked if they had dodge balls or were we to use the basketballs thinking the hoop court was also the dodgeball area. The guy said basket balls. Well, that's because the dodgeball court was on the other side and it was a 'basketball area'. I didn't have that figured out so I threw a missile at the basketball hoop and it richocheted and nearly took Briana's head off. I looked around and saw the dodge ball area. Oh ya. Sorry Briana.
We went to dodgeball. The four of us. And proceeded to pelt eachother with harmless nerf-like balls. Then I was all alone with a kid and a guy who worked there. Ya, the guy who worked there was friggin Jenny Finch. He threw one of these balls at a little kid with this underhanded flick thing that looked physically impossible. No clue how he pulled it off. I asked him to throw a couple at me to see if I could catch it. I was a professional catcher after all. No chance. That was that.
Before leaving, the girls took some time working on their flips. To which we can credit the tangle of muscle that was poor Briana's back in the days since. I haven't cringed that much sinch watching a cyst video. Just wondering when calamity was gonna strike. Not really, but there were a few times when Briana fell awkwardly or nearly knee'd herself in the face. Ce La vie. But she managed to dominate a front flip and a few back flips while keeping her brains unscrambled. Like my dad said, "Any landing you can walk away from was a good one. And if you can use the plane again it was a great landing."
We walked out with pulses so it was a great day with great landings. Moving and doing stuff that wasn't on a boat and enjoying nature as it had sat and would continue to sit was humbling. I quietly considered the creation and marveled. I saw more people on that day than I had in the four months combined previous. It was good. I was alive. I felt alive. All in all, it was fun.