Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Drown out the pain, the worry and the failures before. Survival is a neccessary condition. Smile, be happy and remember every day is just a blessing.

I've been thinking lately. I've been focusing, meditating and climbing. I've been supplementing this with the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I feel a deep connection with his writing.

"Why has my motley diary no jokes? Because it is a soliloquy & every man is grave alone . . ." -Emerson

"There is a huge & disproportionate abundance of evil on earth. Indeed the good that is here, is but a little island of light, amidst the unbouned ocean . . ." - Emerson

The climbing has been good for me. It makes me feel as if I'm working hard. It makes my studying seem worth it. I am driven right now to seek my full potential in both mind and body. I must discipline myself.

I am focusing on the good in life amid this "unbounding ocean." I want to see whether or not I can rise above the attitude of the "norm" and breathe a little lighter.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I want to climb like key lime pie

Such a great party! I love being active.

The other night a friend of mine had a party. We were campusing on wooden blocks nearly the entire night. One arms and double campus. There were some girls ... nothing special. It was just great to be climbing.

I took a couple people out to the rock this weekend and worked on belay and setting top ropes. It was a fun time, and it was chill to sit outside.

The unseasonable warmth nearly lets me forget how homesick I am sometimes. In reality, it is pretty nice down here. There are some beautiful areas. I just feel I should always be somewhere else. Maybe I have no idea where that is.

I also decided to take some time and think. This week, I will work hard without distraction. Next week, I will fast. I need to focus on some stuff in my life, as in my unused potential. I told someone this lastnight, and she made reference to her leading me on. It took me offgaurd. But maybe she was right, and she had become that important to me. I guess I just thought it was good to hope and maybe start to build a good friendship.

I hate playing the role of the fool. I never take it too well.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Life is intense? say what??!!!

Well, you were the dull sound of sharp math

When you were alive
No one's gonna play the harp when you die
And if I had a nickel for every damn dime
I'd have half the time, do you mind? ...

And it's our lives
It's hard to remember, it's hard to remember
We're alive for the first time
It's hard to remember we're alive for the last time
It's hard to remember ...
to live before you die ...
that are lives are such a short time ...
When it takes such a long time - Modest Mouse (Lives)

So why am I so intense to live life?

Because it is such a short time, because this is my first time and for all I know my last time. I've watched as people around me die. I've had to look into my father's face as he lay on a hospital bed, tubes bending from his arms and a oxygen mask over his face. And when I forget, someone else dies and I'm reminded.

So, it is not the fear of death. It is the fear I have that I will not LIVE before I have to go. I want to climb the tallest mountains. I want to visit distant lands. I want to help anyone and everyone I can. I want a family, and I want to make one woman the happiest she has ever been. I want to fall madly in love and build something beautiful.

Someone suggested in an e-mail I shouldn't be so intense about life. But I am young, and I say that is what life is all about. Let me cringe when I am bored. Let me sit mournfully when I have no prospects of a great adventure. Life to me is a vast and amazing journey.

I will be intense. I will not give up a single second of it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sobering mornings ...

What a long night! Red wine ... Not during a week night. Not anymore.

I dreamt lastnight of the mountains. People kept offering me plane tickets. I kept on refusing them. I just kept saying that if I went now it wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be as good as if I went later.

It was so frustrating. I awoke to the sound of construction and a fear to face all the things I probably said lastnight.

I hate how emotional I am sometimes. I hate the way I look for the past to keep reoccuring as if I could actually have such horrible luck. And I really hate hating something, especially something I am doing.

The Pope released his encyclical on modern love and charity. I was reading a little bit of it and began to understand what Father Joseph Brown was speaking about the other night. If we always focus on the negative, we lose sight of all the good.

I constantly allow myself to fall into these patterns.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My misgivings.

No post tonight could make up for how I treated a friend. I don't want to ruin my future with my past, but at times I think it is almost inescapable.

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, January 22, 2006

first week

First week of school is done. Classes don't seem too difficult, but they will take work. I still need a few textbooks, and it seems my budget is in a bit of a crisis. I have a plan though and feel reassured everything will be fine.

In St. Charles I had time to think. I consistently believe things are different with some situations in my life, but they never are. It makes me want to be out of school and on with my life. I want to get around a set of people who know why they believe in things. I don't want to be around the confusion and just want to know someone who actually understands what they want out of this life. Maybe I am just talking about myself. Maybe I just want to understand what it is I expect from this life.

I know I am confused. I don't think the confusion will stop after school. Maybe I can have a little false hope that it might though. haha.

All in all though, things couldn't really be any better. I love my new place. I have noticed I have some great friends. And, I think keeping good grades this semester will be somewhat easier than ever before. I have a lot to be happy about.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Adventure of faith and doubt.

Doubt - It clouds our faith. It pulls a mist in front of our eyes. It keeps us on edge.

Faith - It brings realization. It breaks fear. It fuels a fire to live.

Lastnight, a constant inner struggle between doubt and faith raged inside of my soul.

After climbing, Eric and I went out to a natural area near Jackson Falls. We had never been there before and wanted to see what it was all about. I have interviewed quite a few people who would always speak about how great it was, but I had never actually been there.

It is a place filled with a crystal clear stream, plenty of rocks and 60 to 80-foot clifflines. A pretty beautiful area.

It started out ordinary enough. We crossed the shallow part of this stream to get to an area where two rocks fell into a little pool. It was a pretty good place to chill. While sitting there a guy told us of another area on that side of the stream with a big pool and a rope to swing into it. So we checked it out.

After we left the big pool, we kept heading down the path until it ended hoping to find a place to cross the now deep, ice-cold stream without taking off our shoes and wading through the water. But the path ended, and we made the conscious choice to keep moving. We decided to be "adventurous" and cross later on.

But by the time we crossed the stream and started to head back, it seemed we were walking much further to get back to the path. But it was warm, and we thought we had a lot daylight and kept walking. Soon we saw what appeared to be a walkup near a cliffline. So we walked up, thinking we were right near the car and could just find and follow a path back to the car. If we were oriented right, we might have known we were not walking back to the car, but in a viscious circle that lead us back down the cliffline and back to the bottoms.

After reaching the bottoms again. We started to deliberate.

"Maybe when we crossed the stream the first time, we didn't cross the stream at all, but just thought we did," I said.

This idea kind of shocked us. It meant we had become very disoriented and could have been walking in the wrong direction the entire time, further and further away from where we were headed.

The idea hit Eric that maybe the stream we were heading down was a tributary, and we need to find a fork in the stream. We headed back. It started to get dark. The clouds in the sky assured us that it would be a dark night. We could not stay out here.

Then we caught a break, a yellow trail marker. Phew. It was a definite good sign. We started to joke about how we thought we were lost and how it looked a little bleak there for a moment. We laughed to think about this old iron ladder we had found going up the rock face and natural beautiful arch we had walked across when we got to the top.

It was getting even darker now, but we had found the yellow path. We were going to be just fine. We walked for a good while, following the markers. Following the path, coming around the corner, I said to Eric, "You're not going to believe this. Come here and look at this."

It was the steel ladder up the side of the rock. We had been walking in circles. The path did not lead to the trail head. But there was still hope. The night was getting darker, but using the light from my cell phone we were able to find a blue trail marker. We started to follow that path. I had remembered from the trailhead board that the blue path ran in a loop. So again, we said it might look bad, but we're still good. We had some sort of light (the dim blue light from a cell phone) and we had our composure. Composure was helped by the tranquility of the place. The wind blew through the trees with a reassuring hum that nothing could happen to us. We said only encouraging words in dialogue.

Sometimes losing the trail, we went trail marker to trail marker. The path was sometimes slippery rock. At one point we had to cross a part very close to the cliffline with only the light of a cell phone. The darkness had not totally set in yet, so we could still make out the shadow of the cliffline. It would not be the scariest point.

Suddenly the arrows started pointing down. We had lost the trail, but followed the trail markers. We both slipped multiple times going down the rock. But eventually got down. It had now started to rain. It was a light rain, but it grew steadily stronger. Both somewhat dry though, we still had some time before we worried about getting too cold. Worst case scenario, we still planned to sleep outside and hike out in the morning if we had to.

When we reached the bottom of the cliff, the trail markers were suddenly on the other side of the stream. The streams depth was unkown. But we were hell bent on getting back to the car. We were not going to spend the night out there. We rolled up our pant legs and started to wade across what happened to be water higher than our knees with slippery rock at the bottom.

Halfway across Eric Fell. He was soaked in ice cold water. It was my worst fear that one of us would get wet. Also, it was starting to get cooler out and the rain was slowly getting harder.

Then the unimaginable, I slipped. My cellphone fell into the water. It was our only source of light. I hurried to quickly dry it off. Eric asked if I was OK. All I could think was 'no, no, no' so I said "NO, NO, NO."

It started to vibrate uncontrollably and the light soon dimmed and went out. I thought the battery was gone at that point. We were out there with no light and on a part where we had no idea where the path was. My cell phone on the fritz, we start to deliberate spending the night. But the rain kept coming, and the temperature kept dropping. I knew in my mind we couldn't stay out there. I thought Eric did too. But what choices did we have?

Tinkering around with the cell phone, suddenly the screen lights up again. I have to hold certain buttons down, but the screen soon illuminates for brief periods of time before the vibrating starts again, and we have to resort to taking out the battery and hoping we find the next trail marker. The trail leads up the cliffline.

While on the cliffline, it was scary. Eric told me his night vision wasn't worth shit, and I could barely see where the path was sometimes in the pitch dark atmosphere. But we kept going, trail marker to trail marker.

Then my phone went out. The lighted screen would not light up at all. I only had the light from my keys. I could not make out the reflection of the next trail marker. I told Eric to stay at the last trail marker while I went ahead to find the next. When I got to the next, I put my cell phone in the air and hoped Eric could follow the trail to my voice. I told him to inch forward because we had no idea how close the cliff was, but the path always stayed very close to cliffline. We did this in order to not lose the trail. I did not want to lose the trail. It was the only thing that gave us some sense of orientation to where the trailhead might have been.

It was always a fear though we might overshoot the trailhead and keep going around on what I remembered seeing as a 4-mile trail. I thought we might just start going around in 4-mile loops, spending the night walking in circles.

We did this for a while. It felt like hours and we had no idea of time. We just had the overcoming feeling over relentless signs pointing forward. We kept hoping to see one point right and to the trail head.

Eric told me he was getting pretty cold. The rain was starting to pour. We would keep inching forward. Sometimes I would go for a little bit before seeing a trail marker with my now dimly lit phone. My phone beeped a familiar sound of the battery dying, and I knew we would soon be without a light source. We got up to another trail marker, and it died. No more light.

I told Eric to stay here and keep the path. I hated to leave him, but he had a headlamp in the car and maybe we were really close. I knew going off in the dark was a pretty bad thing, but it felt like our only hope.

I walked down what I felt was the path. Sometimes I could dimly make it out. Sometimes I saw where logs were cut right next to my feet. It gave me strength to keep moving. I called back to Eric that I was going to go for it, and try to make it back to the car.

Faith and doubt clouded my every thought. I kept saying prayers again and again. I prayed to Jesus, to Mary to any patron saint I could remember. I kept thinking how long it was since I left Eric. I pictured him sitting there hoping I'd come back. I felt as if his life was directly in my hands. At one point, I thought I had lost the path. I could see nothing and everything looked like the path. I reached over and grabbed the tree next to me and felt a trail marker with my hands. What luck.

I walked for what what seemed like an hour, and found the the gravel parking lot back to the car. I ran to the car, snatched the head lamp and ran as fast I could back to Eric. I could clearly see the path with the head lamp now. I was yelling the entire time, but he couldn't hear me yet. I kept thinking maybe he moved and fell off the cliff. I ran faster. I was just hoping he would respond to one of the yells, and in a few minutes he did.

I got back and celebrated for a split second and then started to walk back to the car. It took us nearly 20 minutes to reach the car, and with all the twists and turns in the trail, Eric kept asking me how I saw the trail with no light. I still have no idea. I told him it was faith and hope that kept me going. I just thought I should be walking in the right direction. I told him how I was thinking and that I had to make it to the car. It was where all the hope was. I couldn't turn back. That would have meant failure and maybe something worse.

We arrived at around 2:30, 3:00 p.m. and got back to the car at 9:11 p.m.

We couldn't have spent the night out there. It was about 40 F and pouring down rain when I woke up this morning. We would have never made the night.

Sometimes, it just feels good to wake up in the morning and just be able to breathe.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Went climbing again yesterday. It was pretty sweet. I picked a couple new friends and hung out with Bryant and heard all about his trip to Kalymnos, Greece. It sounded pretty sweet and now I think he is an even sicker climber. I hung out with Lisa again also. She is so nice and has such passion about her beliefs. I trust some people instantaneously. I trust her.

Some things seem further than I can ever touch. To want something so bad, finding it and then knowing you can't have it is ...


A little drama happened lastnight. It seems someone close to my family suffered a heart attack. He is fine, but had a second one this morning. It wouldn't be the first time a heart attack has happened in the family, but I was very worried because it was someone close to my mother. I did not want to see her go through losing someone so close again. All is well though. Soon, I will return back to school.

I want to be swamped. Maybe the entries in my written journal might stay under two pages. haha.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pipe Dream

Lastnight, I had a vivid dream ...

The bright night sky lit up the ground. The luminescence of starlight painted from the blue galaxy above made it seem as if the sky were swirling around in giant vortex. The ground was fresh with summer, damp. The night still young.

A fiery ferocity gripped me. I felt as if the world would die if I did not act. The weight seemed to lift as I resolved more and more to help. I remember a voice towering above a crowd. It said, act. It said, try. It pleaded and demanded at the same time, and the huge crowd below sat motionless, probably stilled by the overwhelming sense of fright in the air. That is when I left.

As I look back now, it all seems a bit crazy how something so trivial could have such importance. It was a huge blue pipe sticking out of the ground. That was what I had to conquer. It jutted from the ground and into the sky. It bent at around 400 ft. and swayed into a snake like contortion. And the end was a sudden small and single blue-lighted shaft beaming to the ground. Along the entire frame of this seemingly smooth pipe were ridges, and small ledges. Some I could see were obviously for maintenance while others just seemed to be part of the design.

I knew I had to climb the outside of the pipe. I think I was chasing someone. As I kept climbing, a sinister voice kept saying I was not meant to climb the pipe. I would fall. It kept reminding me of the long distance to the ground and my death. It told me I was weak. It said I was wrong. It said the town was wrong, and the person climbing the pipe in front of me was strong, stronger than I. But I kept climbing. The more the voice said I was wrong, the more passionate I felt about the cause, and the stronger I climbed. When the pipe started to round, I was very close to the person. I wanted something.

When I caught up, I ripped it away. It did not fight me, but instead sat and cowered on the side of a little steel ledge. When I reached the lighted shaft, it scared me. It was the end. The danger was over. I had lost my edge, and the ground seemed an eternity away. But with one last dreamlike suggestion, I leapt out and grabbed the narrow shaft and started to slide to the ground.


It was a great dream, vivid and extreme. I feel as if it could be telling me something great about my life, but I think I will dissect it later. I just had to get here and write it out.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Time slows down.

Found a poem today. Nostalgia crept in.

Instantly, my mind became what it once was, and I yearned for excitement. I wanted to bleed, to start on something dangerous, something adventurous. I soon calmed down and focused on my next semester.

Sometimes I forget the dynamics of my history. I forget how I needed something new and something fun all the time. I have become too accustomed with just focusing on finishing school. I know I have grown soft for adventure. I forget also how complex my courses used to be and how intriguing I found every little puzzle in life.

I also thought of how much less I write now. I write for me, but I do not write for others. I no longer tell long stories ... or create poems for the ladies. haha. I found one of my old english assignments, which I had thought was horrible, but it had the words "beautifully written and vividly descriptive" on the front. Weird, eh? - I've also started using a Canadian dialect when I talk to a few people. Wut's dat all a boot, eh?

Only days to go before school starts. Tomorrow, I will head down to St. Louis. Wednesday, I'll be climbing with Bryant and Lisa (and her posse.) And Thursday, if all goes according to plan, I'll be moved into my new place. Thankfully ... then I can at least start getting busy, a great many obstacles to tackle this semester.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

First days of 2006

I can usually tell the start of a great book by just the first few lines. Some are great and memorable. Others begin with a trite, cliche opening.

I'm hoping to judge this year by the first few days. And so far, it looks to be a good one. I met my first new friend this year. She is pretty special. She wants to do Peace Corps, a definite plus for any potential friends. She has a good sense of humor and spontaneous type of spirit. We went climbing in Bloomington. She has some improvement to make on the wall, but I had to admire her spirit.

So, I had a good day yesterday.

Today, I awoke at 4:30 a.m. to an annoying alarm on my cell phone, drank a cup of joe and then drove 45 minutes to spend 8 straight hours (one 15 min break) doing inventory at Famous Barr. Oh yeah, let me tell you something about fun. I think it was so fun, I might do it four more days. haha. I say hey, it's a little cash flow. Maybe I can have another adventure before break is up.


About Me

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Ambitiously enduring.