Saturday, May 22, 2010

Confessions of a crankypants

I can tell the signs. I’m irritated with everything. I stomp around under a dark cloud, fuming. Too many hours logged at a computer, too many minutes suffering on the elliptical trainer.

It’s time to get out.

I’ve been chained to a desk, the result of a promotion and snowy weather up high. We can’t really get anywhere yet, and while it is lush and green in the canyon, access is hampered, available only at far-flung trailheads down teeth-clenching roads. All of this inside time is taking its toll. I’m itchy and prickly both, a wilderness addict needing a fix.

So I left the office early on Friday and rushed to my old standby, the Chief Joseph trail. Once again I decide to face my nemesis, the BC Ford. I avoided it a week ago by taking a climbers trail that bypassed it, but today I want to see what is going on at the ford.

It started to snow as I headed to the trailhead. Real snow, serious snow. It’s May 21. I paused for a moment to wonder about that. I’ve lived here nine months and it has snowed during seven of them. Another thing I didn’t expect.

The trailhead in snow.
As I headed to the trail, I saw a man with hiking poles walking up the road. Danger! I was too much of a crankypants to have a conversation at this point. So I poured on some speed and lost him.

There was big water at the bridge.

Mollified by the quiet, broken only by the sound of water and light falling snow, I pushed onward, already feeling tension melt away. There is something about being surrounded by natural things: rivers, mountains, forest. I don’t know how people can stand to be without it.
I could hear BC Ford rumbling and knew this wasn’t a crossing day.

I can’t explain why I need the wilderness. It isn't for some spiritual awakening.It isn't because I am a hermit, live-off-the-land type. I like running water. I like my cats. I wouldn't want to live in a tent year-round.

There's just something about stepping into a world that is busily recreating itself every day without any help from me. The river flows; the mountain slowly crumbles. I'm just a piece of the whole.

A crankypants no more.


  1. Oh, I really like this piece, Marre!

  2. Love it! Your words evoke so much of what we diagnose the source of 'cranky' and knowing what will help...AND having the cure nearby, are real blessings. Love the photo of the former crankypants, too.


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