Sunday, July 17, 2011

if only

I was that girl in the car stuffed with belongings that you saw at the rest stop off of Highway 2, 395, 50, more. Where was she going? I was the girl with the seventy pound backpack and Forest Service uniform, packing a shovel and a pulaski in the White Cloud Mountains of Idaho. I was the girl leading cave tours at the park, planting trees, the one the news cameras scanned past at a fire camp. For years I was that girl. I walked the independence road because I didn't want anyone to tell me I couldn't go into the mountains when I wanted to. I didn't want someone's jealousy if I was on a fire crew with a bunch of guys, or anyone's smothering neediness when I wanted to go off to the coast to write. I know too many women who live those lives.

I thought I would be alone forever and that was okay, because I was fed up with wishy-washy men who didn't know what they wanted and men whose only outdoor experience was sitting in bleachers being participants. If I were ever to be with someone it had to be with a man who plunged in over his head just like I did, who wandered off the map, who didn't follow team sports (no offense to anyone reading this who does), who got it.

This week after my wedding has been the best week of my life. Sometimes it's easy to let the if-onlys creep in: If only this town had a pool. If only I could sell my memoir. If only I didn't have wrinkles. If only my knees were perfect and I could run a trail ultra..

The if-onlys have dogged me plenty in my life, but I can choose to beat them back. I can swim in Wallowa Lake with a wetsuit. If I don't sell my memoir, I had a lot of fun writing it. Not much I can do about the wrinkles. I can't run an ultra but I can run five miles and that's a lot more than some people can.

The other night I was at an outdoors restaurant listening to my friends Chase, Charlie, Brian and Spence play music. The whole town seemed to be there, a swirling kalidescope of color. The moon was full. This is a town where if they know you, they hug you. The band played on in defiance of the noise ordinance. Everyone danced.  I held my new husband's hand. This is as good as it gets. It is worth the time it took to get here.

PS! If you wrote something for the backpack giveaway, it will happen next week, mid-week! My back is healing and I feel much more kindly towards Osprey. I did, however, order a Deuter. I have a Go-Lite that is on thin ice too, so stay tuned!


  1. Married life is pretty awesome! Enjoy the newness of it all! :)

  2. I will buy your memoir. Congrats on being so happy! That's awesome.


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