Disclaimer: No Inspiration Here.

I miss me when I’m not here.

For the past few days I’ve been checking in, hoping against hope that  someone might have hacked in and ghost-written me a post. Something witty and heartfelt, maybe.  Or uplifting and inspiring. Even something wicked and bitchy.

But no.  Every time I check, it’s the same: “Yosemite Boots.”

When a blog is called “Inspiration Location,” and its stated purpose  is to hunt down inspiring things and champion them, and the author is feeling so, so…

Let’s just put it this way.

If I was a car, I would have something ominous rattling under my hood. So I’ve pulled over and I’m not driving (writing) until it’s fixed.

I watched the documentary, “Gasland” the other night and it has put me into a complete state of despair. What was illustrated in that documentary is precisely what’s in the process of happening here, in this place, at this very moment.  “Gasland” is the future of Mansfield.

Ever since I saw it, I’ve been trying NOT to despair, and I am calling on all my practices to teach me how think about this (or not think about it).

“In a moment of difficulty, practice serenity.”

This is what I have been training all these years to be able to do, so I am trying to stay conscious and aware and witness it all, dispassionately and reasonably.

And breathe.

But what this might mean for a blog called “Inspiration Location” is that I may not be able to write happy, chirpy, “rainbows and unicorns” kind of posts for awhile because I’m feeling mighty low on inspiration.

It’s like my car’s in the shop and until I can get her up and running again, I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer here, doing a whole hand-wringing, what’s-going-to-happen-to-us trip.

(I really hope I don’t need a whole new transmission.)

Yosemite Boots

My boots came in the mail yesterday. The boots I hiked Yosemite in.

After we left the park, we found a post office and stopped and mailed a box home to ourselves hoping to lighten our suitcases and avoid paying the $50 extra for an overweight bag. (It worked, too.)

I slit the box top, opened the cardboard flaps and immediately got a whiff of the hot brown dirt of California.  My boots, new for the this trip, still looked new, but were dirty and dusty and there were a few little stones still lodged  in their vibram soles.

Somebody once told me: “Where you leave shoes, you can return.”

It was a German woman named Marlise.  We both attended retreats regularly at Springwater.  I’d leave the retreat and drive 3 hours home.  She’d leave the retreat and fly home to Germany.

She always left her hiking books in the shoe room at Springwater with a note taped to each toe.  On the left boot the note said: “Marlise knows.”  On the right boot it said, “she’s coming back.”

It was always heart-wrenching to leave Springwater for everyone, but especially for the people who lived far away, like Marlise.  When she got to Germany, she would tell her friends, “Of course I’ll go back; I left my boots there!  I have to!

My new Vasque boots cost me about $140.  It would have been hard to leave them in Yosemite to insure my return.  (Plus, I can really use them around here.)  But I’m thinking now I should have left something there to insure my return.

But what?

And where could I have left it?

Anything I might have left would surely have been picked up by someone and either taken or discarded.  So I mailed my shoes home, along with some  books and my toiletries.

But when I saw those boots in that box yesterday–check that–when I smelled those boots, I longed to be back on the Panorama Trail, listening to the crunch of crushed granite underfoot, smelling the sugar pines and the hot rocks, hearing the distant crash of a thunderous waterfall.

I’d say I left my heart in Yosemite if it didn’t sound so cheesey. And what does it even mean to say you left “your heart” someplace?

Everyone has had that experience, though: loving a place so much you feel a part of you stays there even when your physical body leaves it.  I left no thing in Yosemite that someone might see and say, like they said of Marlise’s boots, “Oh, they’re Marlise’s.  She’ll be back for them.”

But even though I didn’t leave my shoes in Yosemite, my feet definitely know their way back there.

Solstice Bike Ride 2010

I don’t know what it is, but every single time we go on an adventure, G winds up “saving the day” in some way.  She remembers the key thing that everyone else forgets, or rescues someone from disaster, or has the right tool and/or the know-how to fix the car.

So yesterday, on our big 45 mile ride through the Canyon, we passed a family who was consoling a little girl who was crying.  It didn’t sound like a “serious” cry to me, more like a “whiney” cry, so we passed on by–or at least Fred and I did.

G, unbeknownst to us, stopped.  Fred recognized G wasn’t behind us, and we stopped to wait for her to catch up.  I drank water, ate a Cliff bar, and still no G.

Fred and I realized in that moment that we were no longer one racing team, but two: Fred and I were “Team Shithead” and G, “Team Good Samaritan.”

We headed back to find her, but by that time she was headed back to us.  Turns out the crying girl had tumbled down the embankment on her bike and might have broken her arm.

Luckily, G still had a lot of med supplies in the panniers from the Half Marathon, and was able to splint and immobilize the little girl’s arm until her parents could get her to the ER.  She Band-Aided her knee, too. And all this in the time it took me to drink some water and eat a snack.

It was a gorgeous day on the trail and we had another fun ride. Last year we went the full 64 miles but felt no need to do that this year.  Last year we discovered that the last 20 weren’t all that picturesque so we stopped at Slate Run this year and it was the perfect distance.

Here we are:

G, Fred and Kath Solstice Ride 2010

And here’s a clip of the ride, the crunch of the gravel and Fred asking some kayakers about water-striders in the creek.

Beer, Pizza, Ice Cream, Wine, Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

These are the summer potholes.  These are the foods and drinks that I need to swerve around all summer in order to stay sleek, lean and svelte.

But so far, I haven’t been successful and my axle’s broken and my bumper’s draggin’: Bump, bump, bumpety- bump!

And it’s not even officially summer yet!

Tonight we went to the Wren’s Nest for dinner to celebrate G and her Dad’s successful completion of the new shed.  They worked like dogs for the past three days.  And  let’s not forget the mad-crazy skillzzzz of Fred!  Could not have done it without Fred–amazing what that man knows how to DO!  Wished he could have joined us for dinner tonight, but he was off helping yet another friend in need.  Fred is THE best friend in the world!  (Thank you, Frederico!)

We dined in style with wine and dessert (to go).  Went with the Peanut Butter Mousse Pie.  Tomorrow I put myself back in harness.  These culinary potholes are killin’ me and my girlish figure.

(spit, snort.)

Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

The Ten Foot Circle

Before I left for California, I was all concerned about how I was going to keep up with my posting streak here; how I was going to check email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  I knew I was going to be out of range of Wifi, and maybe even cell phone service, and it was more of a concern than I felt happy with.

I only took my Ipod Touch with me, and that post I wrote in JFK?  The one with all the typos?

Yeah, the whole writing on a little touch pad thing?  So did not work for me!

Once we got into the majestic environment of the Yosemite National Park, I turned my phone off, my Touch too, and abandoned all attempts to connect.  For 5 days, I let it go.  And friends, I love you, but I have to tell you, it was gooooood.  Really, really good.

Yeah, I paid for it when I got back.  I had tons of stuff to catch up on, but it was so worth it.

Today I was talking to Stephanie about the Vision Quests she leads.  People submit to sitting in a 10 foot circle, out in nature, for 4 days, with no food– only water.  She said when they go in they look like crap, but when they come out they look beatific.

I kinda felt that way when I hung up the phone and the internet for 5 days. I felt like I was going into a 10 foot circle with no food, but surprisingly, within that 10 foot circle, the whole universe opened up.

I felt beatific coming out.

I don’t know what this will mean for me, and my relationship with the internet going forward.  I am back to posting here, obviously, and I’ve caught up on all my email and voice mail, so I’m clearly not swearing off technology, but I feel a sea-change coming.  New weather is approaching.

I need to find a new way of being both connected and not connected at the same time.  It’s not really a question of how to limit my internet use, so much as how much of it to let in.  It’s more about boundaries than anything else.  I need some version of that 10 foot circle with no food.

Tell me: How do you keep the internet from eating you alive (if you do)?  How do you set boundaries?  What makes it work?  How do you keep your 10 foot circle clear?

My Vacation

I am buried in laundry.

My house looked AMAZING when I walked in, exhausted, after a week away. (yay me for cleaning!!)

My trip to Yosemite was… (adjectives fail me)  Spectacular?  Yeah, that’s getting warm, but it was more than that.

Here’s what I DIDN’T do:

I didn’t pick up my pen once the whole week.

I did do one downward dog and one headstand–but that’s it.  For a whole week.  (tsk-tsk)

I have a whole lot of posts planned in my head.  I had a lot of thoughts about vacations, why they’re important, what they do, etc, and I AM going to get them all out, in little dribs and drabs in the next few days/weeks. Climbing up waterfalls and standing by rivers are very conducive to deep thinking if you didn’t know that already.

G’s the photographer but even she was humbled in the face of the things we saw, constantly saying: “I took a shot, but there is no way I can capture THAT.”

It’s true.  So go look at Ansel Adams’ photographs if you want to see pics that DO capture THAT.

I did take some video with my Nikon Coolpix (a camera I am growing increasingly fond of, btw.) And I will try to embed some video here to give you a little taste of what we experienced.

In this first one, G is pointing out the route of the Panorama Trail.  She and I both call it the “Cascade Range” in this clip.  It’s not the Cascade Range, it’s the Clark Range.  Blame it on the altitude.

In this next one, we are sitting at one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been.  (I want part of my ashes scattered here when I die, I told G.)  In this clip, I discover how to “zoom” while taking video.  It was a good discovery.

This clip is a continuation of the last one.   I call it: “Say Ecstatic Again.”


Well I discovered last night at the Apple store in Rochester that there is no gizmo that will let me upload pics directly into my Ipod Touch.

Oh but let me just tell you about the Apple Store on a Saturday night! The fondling of the Ipads? Obscene! Everyone including little ones in strollers were playing with them. And
the babies were showing the adults the advanced features.

Do I want one? Of course I do! But I don’t need one ( except if I had one I could upload pics on it.)

Now I am sitting in the JFK airport waiting for the flight to Sacramento. This is my first time flying Jet Blue and so far it’s been quality. The terminal is state of the art for mobile travellers who need to be connected 24/7. I’m sitting on a stool on font of a screen that I can order food from and someone will bring it to me–drinks too without having to look up from this screen.

This is suposed to be a “good” thing?

This is me logging out to go people watch.”