Rooted, I used to think.

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Tired - Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020
October - Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020
Autumn Moments - Friday, Oct. 09, 2020
Fathers - Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020
Lightning Lakes - Monday, Sept. 21, 2020

Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020 @ 11:35 am

We book an evening climbing session. While we eat supper, the sun sets through the smoke. Brief beams of orange and pink light, diluted and delicate. And then, a light rain begins to fall.

We cycle in the dark through the rain across the quiet city. Here we are again, in the autumn, with the bike lanes to ourselves. Leaves fall from the bigleaf maples. The katsura leaves turning yellow and fragrantly sweet. Rain against my bare legs. Balmy wind against my face.

We climb indoors for the first time in weeks. I belay him up the wall. We wear masks, and I enjoy the autonomy of it. Who am I without my big smile? I am someone else. I am no one.

On the evening prior, I sat on the couch late in the evening with needle and thread, moving the button over on my shorts. Did they stretch? They fall from my hips. I secure the button several inches over. Pull on the shorts. Now, they are secure.

At the gym, after warming up, I climb a route that I struggled with last time. An overhang, pumpy and physical. I start the route and move through the crux. I am above it before realizing that it was easy. I do another challenging route and climb it clean onsight. I feel strong. My body is balanced and everything feels connected and true. How did this all come together, suddenly? What changed?

In the morning, I pull out my scale. The button on my shorts. A noticeable increase in climbing strength. I watch the digital readout settle on a number. I’m confused at first, because it’s not what I was expecting. I have lost weight. Not much, but some. Enough for it to make a difference. I didn’t change anything, but things changed.

Perhaps feeling loved has helped fill me up. Fill up those corners that I previously filled with food. What have I been hungry for?

The next day, I travel to the suburbs to do a final inspection on a construction project. The smoke is thick and the light ethereal. Leaves blow down from a cottonwood and rattle across the new, firmly-packed dyke. I lead the meeting - the contractor, the owner, the geotech - all men - and we walk across the job site while I point out the deficiencies. At the end, I am walking with the owner towards our vehicles.

“Did your partner - or husband - used to work at the City?” he asks. Inside, I groan.

“My ex-partner did, yes. I understand that his desk was near to yours. He left that role four years ago…” and the conversation continues.

The ghost of him emerges unexpectedly, out here in the midst of the smoky blueberry fields.

The traffic home is light. I drive past an elementary school, and children push back and forth on the swings, delighted to be among their friends for the first time since March. I park on the street near my apartment, heft the bin containing my boots and hard hat on my hip. Leaves blow across the asphalt in a chattering gust.

Climbing. The smoke. His warm skin against me through the night. The ghost of my past.

This gentle shift of seasons.

I am loved.

Roots | Shoots