Friday, Jun. 26, 2020 @ 1:23 pm
We stand apart, each anchored to different locations on the narrow granite ledge. Mark climbs above, linked through the belay device to Russell’s harness. I organize the gear, drink water. The sun had dropped behind the mountains on the other side of the valley.
Mark is an interesting climber. He uses old gear and old techniques, and his methods are a constant source of amusement.
A piece of heavy, old gear clanks against the rock above Russell. I glance over. We both glance up and then smile at each other and shrug.
His smile. The wind ruffling the hair that sticks out from under his helmet. My hands dirty with rock dust and standing on this precipice with him.
“I like you very much, you know,” I tell him.
He smiles, and I watch the love blossom within him.
“I like you very very very much,” he says back.
Another clank from above.
Another glance and a smile.
I rap down in the dark and head to the car alone while they finish up; the car is in danger of being locked in the parking lot. I slide down the rope and then unhook from the end, swap my shoes, and tromp off through the woods. All of the gear jingling around my hips. My hair in a long braid down my back.
Alone in the parking lot, shake out my hair from under my helmet. Stare up at the crescent moon. Revel in the warm air that moves against my skin.
I collect these perfect moments and save them here.
This is the peak of my life. Strong in body and in heart.
I don't know if there will ever be a more beautiful time in my life than right now.